Former Server Arrested for Stealing Customers' Credit Card Numbers
Michael Singer, 46, faces eight felony charges and two misdemeanor charges after customers at the Neptune Bar & Grille in Gulfport reported someone using their credit and debit cards numbers.
According to Gulfport Police reports at least four people were victims of identity theft when a former employee of the Neptune Bar & Grille in Gulfport used their credit and debit card numbers to withdraw cash and purchase services such as bus passes and airline tickets. Sgt. Robert Burkhart with the Gulfport Police Department says more charges could be filed if more victims come forward.
Michael Singer, 46, was arrested on Sunday April 17, 2011, for several charges including forgery of a credit card, fraudulent use of a credit card, retail theft and resisting without violence. Singer was taken into custody after officers went to his residence in Gulfport, knocked on the door and talked to a roommate, at which time Singer jumped out a window and ran from officers. He was found hiding inside a garbage can not far from the residence. Officers first tried to make contact with Singer on Sunday (evening) April 12, 2011, at the restaurant, but Singer left suddenly through the back of the business.
According to police reports a customer contacted management at the Neptune Bar & Grille on Sunday (afternoon) April 12, 2011, regarding additional charges on a credit card. The manager of the restaurant researched the transactions and linked the claims to (then employee) Michael Singer. The manager contacted and reported the information to officials on April 12, 2011. Further investigation revealed three more customers with fraudulent charges, totaling four persons and one business (Neptune Bar & Grille) named as victims in the report.
Recorded receipts associated with the fraudulent charges are dated between April 9 - April 12. Among the items purchased were nearly $450 worth of bus passes and nearly $475 for two plane tickets to Texas. One plane ticket in Singer's name had a departure date of April 13, 2011. According to police reports Singer did not make that flight.
Sgt. Burkhart says Singer is a "career offender" and "may get some significant prison time for this." Singer is being held in the Pinellas County Jail on a total of $17,000 in bonds for the charges. Click here to view the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office Charge Report including charges and bond amounts.
Sgt. Burkhart encourages anyone who visited and used a credit or debit card at the restaurant lately to review bank statements for any discrepancies. If you believe you've been a victim of identity theft, you're asked to call the Gulfport Police Department's non-emergency line at (727) 893-1030.
For more information about identity theft protection, check out the Federal Trade Commission's website. Learn more about the four steps you should take if you become a victim of identity theft from the Federal Trade Commission.