Police: 2 men found in Claremont with profiles of 20,000 identity theft victims

Police find profiles of 20000 identity theft victims with 2 men in Claremont

Claremont police said they found more than 20,000 personal profiles of victims of identity theft in a motel room after evidence discovered during a traffic stop prompted an investigation.

Just after 2 p.m. Monday, March 18, officers pulled over a vehicle near Indian Hill Boulevard and First Street, the Claremont Police Department said in a news release. Officers discovered the driver was under the influence of drugs, driving on a suspended license and had a warrant for his arrest. There was a warrant out for the arrest of the passenger as well, the release said.

Officers searching the vehicle found stolen mail, credit cards, fraudulent drivers licenses and a key used to open community mailboxes, the release said.


The investigation led officers to the Claremont Lodge at 736 S. Indian Hill Blvd., where they said the men had fraudulently rented a room. Inside, they said they found the profiles with personal information used to commit identity theft, more mail, a card reader and fraudulent checks.

Joseph Martinez, 39, a transient, and Raymond Lussow, 28, from Pomona, were arrested on suspicion of identity theft, mail theft, illegal possession of a card reader and forgery; Martinez was also arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Drug abusers often trade or sell stolen identities to supply their habits, authorities say.

Police are working with the U.S. Postal Service in pursuing federal charges. Although stealing mail is a federal crime, the U.S. government usually does not pursue federal charges unless the crime involves a large amount of mail.

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