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Debit card fraud suspect wanted in Fontana

June 22, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The search is on for a suspect in a fraud investigation in Fontana, where a woman used a stolen debit card at a Target.

The suspect, Melanie Suzanne Gonzales, 32, casually walked out of a Target store with her hands filled with shopping bags, unaware that she's been caught on surveillance video. Investigators said the purchases she made were with a fraudulent debit card.

"She had the card information, which they use to make a card, and put a female's name on the card," said Cindy Bachman of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

The male victim noticed the charges and alerted authorities. Officials said Gonzales made off with close to $300 in purchases.

She may also be the same person authorities in several other areas are looking for.

"Now the deputy is working with Irvine Police Department, Rialto Police Department and possibly another station in our department in Rancho Cucamonga," said Bachman.

Authorities said they don't know how the victim's debit card and pin number where stolen, but they know the suspect's crime spree began at a Food 4 Less store in Fontana before she moved on to three other nearby businesses.

The same debit card was used at a Subway restaurant and a Chevron gas station.

Financial fraud and theft is a growing crime and protection from it can vary.

"The biggest advantage you would have in trying to eliminate this kind of crime or recover once a crime has been committed is to notice it on your statements," said Vincent Gottuso of the Better Business Bureau.

Investigators said the technology used to make the cards tells them Gonzales may be part of a much bigger theft ring.

Gonzales also is wanted on two arrest warrants for burglary. She was described as being 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighing 250 pounds.

If you have any information on the suspect, you're urged to contact the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department at (909) 387-3700.

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