By Erika Butler
A Vietnamese national in the country illegally has allegedly been stealing credit card numbers from the Harford County nail salon where he works, police said Tuesday.
The numbers were in turn used by the suspect to make credit cards for himself and to charge items to other’s credit accounts.
Tri Cao Tran, also known as Tony, 33, of the 200 block of Foxhall Drive in Bel Air, is facing 22 charges after allegedly skimming credit card numbers from three customers at the nail salon. Tran was arrested Monday but quickly made bail.
Police say Tran had as many as six to 12 victims a week for the past year he has been working at Classy Nails in the 1400 block of Rock Spring Road in Bel Air. The shop is in the Rock Spring Shopping Center near the Bel Air Bypass and Harford County Detention Center.
The investigation of Tran began after customers reported fraudulent charges to their credit cards, a spokesperson for the Harford County Sheriff’s Office said.
While Tran is charged in only three cases, investigators say they suspect the alleged scam has been going on much longer.
“In all likelihood it’s been going on for a year,” Monica Worrell, public information for the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, said Tuesday.
Tran allegedly skimmed the customers’ credit card numbers off their cards and onto his own, according to charging documents.
Worrell said it doesn’t appear that anyone else working at the nail salon knew about Tran’s alleged scam.
In the cases he is charged in connection with, Tran allegedly made $567.84 in unauthorized charges to one credit card (more than $420 to Toys R Us and more than $100 to Walmart in Aberdeen), $651.84 in unauthorized charges to another (separate charges of more than $200 and nearly $400 at Walmart in Aberdeen), and $107.88 in unauthorized charges to a third card (more than $50 at Starbucks in Abingdon).
In reviewing video surveillance from several places where Tran allegedly made the unauthorized purchases, all three victims identified Tran as “Tony, a Classy Nails employee.
Tran is charged with three counts of theft less than $1,000, two counts of impersonating another person’s credit card more than $500, one count of impersonating another person’s credit card less than $500, two counts of charging more than $500 to another person’s credit card and one count of charging less than $500 to another person’s credit card, six counts of fraud by personal identity theft, four counts of theft scheme $1,000 to $10,000 and three counts of using someone else’s credit card numbers.
Tran was arrested Monday and released from the Harford County Detention Center on $10,000 bail.
Anyone who suspects they may be one of Tran’s alleged victims is asked to call the sheriff’s office northern precinct investigative unit, 410-692-7862.