A Redding woman who police say was the victim of an elaborate identity theft perpetrated by two Los Angeles women is speaking out.
On Friday, Elisa Bearden had her wallet stolen from her while shopping at TJ Maxx.
Within an hour of the theft, she began receiving notifications from her credit card providers that her cards were being used at multiple locations in Redding.
“I started getting alerts from my bank first and then from my credit card companies stating that transactions were going through. Like apparently I have someone spending my cards over time and that’s crazy because they’re right here and I looked and they weren’t and I’m like hold my stuff I’m going to go to my car and see if my wallets in my car,” Bearden said.
But it wasn't and still more notifications of transactions came in from places like Target and Sears.
After tracking them to Macy's she contacted the store's fraud prevention department to find out if the thieves were still in the store.
“She said I’m watching them right now on camera they’re using your card,” Bearden said.
After calling 911, police and mall security tracked them to a Foot Locker store inside the mall where they confronted the two.
“The ladies were saying they didn’t speak any English or understand anything and they ditched my wallet, but they had all credit cards that I had that had a MasterCard or Visa symbol on them,” Bearden said.
Here’s where the story gets a little stranger. The two also had Bearden’s ID with all of her information but with their own pictures instead.
“Their picture and my name and I’m like… how?” Bearden said.
Here are the two suspects’ Camila Fernandez and Julietta Smith, in total, the pair charged nearly $10,000 in credit card purchases within two hours. The suspects also stole $6,000 in cash from Bearden’s wallet.
“People were wondering how do you spend $10,000 in an hour... buying gift cards so that’s what they were doing… they were buying multiple gift cards,” Bearden said.
Many owe these two getting caught to Bearden’s persistence in following them wherever they went.
“Yeah I was extremely persistent and very determined that whoever did this I just know that a lot of people get away and if they were going to be using my card around town and I could follow them and possibly get them I wasn’t going to give up,” Bearden said.
Just over $1,200 was recovered by police. Aside from the missing cash and wallet, officers were able to recover all of Bearden’s property. She offered this advice to others who may experience the same fate.
“My best suggestion for everyone is to have alerts on your phone and be proactive,” Bearden said.
And in speaking with her on Sunday it seems like she will be able to get most of the money that was taken from her through various companies and other resources.