By Debby Woodin
A Texas couple believed to have scammed thousands of dollars worth of goods and services in three states using stolen identities have been arrested in Joplin.
Joplin Police say they, working with the Euless (Texas) Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service, conducted an undercover sting on Wednesday that resulted in the arrests of two fugitives from Texas who are wanted on charges related to fraud and identity theft and a third arrest on drug charges.
Shawna Marie Neal-Sansom, 34, and Ray Sanchez Jr., 43, are being held on fugitive warrants from Texas where they are charged with fraud and identity theft involving more than 50 known victims, according to Joplin police Lt. Darren Gallup. They had been using stolen identities to buy goods and services as they traveled through Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri, he said.
They were arrested at a Joplin motel where they were discovered after the Texas police asked Joplin to help track and locate them. They had been in Joplin “off and on” for the past two to three weeks, Gallup said.
A third person with them also was arrested, though not on fraud or identity theft charges. Christopher Lozano, age unavailable, faces drug charges, police said. Gallup said all three are from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Gallup said that identification documents for more than 100 people were obtained in a search of the motel room where the fugitives were found.
“These cases date back two years,” Gallup said, but police also discovered evidence that false identities had been used to obtain merchandise such as electronics from several Joplin stores that was either returned for a refund or sold for cash, Gallup said.
“We seized over 100 IDs, and we are looking to track all those victims down,” Gallup said. He said part of the investigation involves trying to determine how the identification cards and documents were obtained for the scam.
“We are dealing with tens of thousands of dollars in losses to these different victims.”
More than 50 known victims, according to Joplin police.