Scams across the CSRA

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, Sept. 28, 2007

One business in Augusta is out of more than $11,000. And in Aiken County, investigators are searching for two suspects apparently involved in a shopping spree with stolen credit cards.

Richmond County investigators have arrested 34-year-old Clarisa Nicole Ryans, charging her with cashing checks which were fake. And in Aiken County, two suspects are still on the run after deputies say they stole three credit cards.

"We went there for an evening of family fun and it ended in disaster," says one woman whose credit cards were stolen. It all happened September 21st. This woman and her family went to the rodeo in Windsor. But that Friday night full of fun changed the next day.

"Checked my purse the following night and realized lots of my credit cards were missing," she says.

Three credit cards to be exact, and Aiken County investigators say two people rang up several thousand dollars using those cards on the very next day. Everything from gas to food to tools in Aiken and North Augusta.

Surveillance video shows the two suspects at the Target in Aiken, making a purchase and then heading out the door.

Another victim in the same credit card scam had her cards stolen from her friend's car.

"I felt bad because it was my car," the friend said. "It wouldn't happened if she didn't go with me."

And on the same day -- September 22nd -- the same suspect from Target who was wearing the visor used the credit cards at the 3 Way Food Store on Pine Log Road in Aiken.

"The video shows the individual leaving the store, getting into the truck and backing up and leaving the parking lot," says Lt. Michael Frank.

Investigators aren't sure of the car's color but know it's a 1970's model Ford pickup.

"Always check immediately when you get back to the car if you do lock something in the car, and notify the police at once," says one victim, who canceled her credit cards after learning a hard lesson.

In Richmond County, there's another type of scam. 34-year-old Clarisa Nicole Ryans is behind bars, charged with cashing fake checks from Jackson R. Massey in Augusta. One check for at least $750 was cashed at a food store, and it happened more than once.

"Once you get a person in custody, you find more fraudulent checks from that individual," says Sgt. Richard Roundtree.

Richmond County investigators are still adding up all those fake checks and looking for another suspect in the same scam. Alexandria Dent apparently worked with Clarisa Ryans and cashed at least one check in Augusta.

There is also another case, this one in Waynesboro. Police there are looking for Trevor Sams in another fake check case.

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