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Man charged with identity theft, credit card fraud

June 11, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - A Gwynn Oak, Md., man accused of buying thousands of dollars in merchandise from a Prime Outlets shoe store with fraudulent credit cards has been charged with identity theft and several counts of felony theft and credit card fraud, Maryland State Police said.

Michael Anthony McBurse was in the Washington County Detention Center on $45,000 bond Monday night after an appearance before a bond commissioner.

Trooper 1st Class Russ Plante charged McBurse, 40, with one count of identity theft, three counts of felony theft, and 10 counts of credit card offenses, court records said.

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Plante said he was contacted June 5 by a Brooklyn, N.Y., woman who said unauthorized charges were made on her MasterCard at the Timberland Shoe Outlet at Prime Outlets in Hagerstown two days earlier.

A check with the store manager, Jeffrey Blair, revealed the transaction on the woman's card was made by a man named Michael Brown whom he said frequents the store on a regular basis and buys shoes in bulk using various credit cards, court records said.

The store manager told Plante that Brown's credit cards often wouldn't "swipe" and had to be keyed in manually, court records said.

Plante asked store employees to call police if "Brown" returned and Monday at 12:04 p.m., he did, court records said.

As soon as he finished buying 26 pairs of shoes for more than $2,100 with a Bank of America MasterCard, he was arrested, court records said.

Plante said "Brown" identified himself as McBurse and said he received fraudulent cards from a source in New York and was using them because he was in financial trouble due to medical problems.

McBurse said he had used the cards about 10 times, court records said.

Plante said fraudulent credit cards included Citibank, Providian National Bank, Charter One and even a Europay Israel account.

Recent transactions attributed to McBurse included 47 pairs of shoes worth nearly $4,000 between June 3-10 at the store with different credit cards, court records alleged.

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