Familiar crime targets hikers | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Familiar crime targets hikers

Gregory Crofton

Credit cards stolen over the weekend from four cars parked at the trailhead for Mount Tallac were taken to Reno casinos and used for cash advances before victims noticed the cards were missing.

It’s a crime El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department has seen before: a burglar breaks into a car, finds a wallet and steals a single credit card. Victims often don’t notice the crime because other cards and cash are left behind and sometimes their car is relocked.

“People need to take their belongings with them, lock them in the trunk or leave them at home,” said El Dorado County Sheriff’s Detective Pat Tener. “It does no good to put your wallet under the seat or in the glove box; these crooks know society’s habits.”

The burglars target all types of vehicles, and the thefts are believed to occur between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Tener said.

A number of similar crimes were reported this summer at the parking lot at the Eagle Falls trailhead and Camp Richardson Resort. In 1999, there were dozens of such thefts until deputies arrested Ionut Buzbuchi, 45, and Daniel Elekes, 26, at the Tallac trailhead. The men were found with burglary tools and 25 to 30 credit cards.

The men were part of a larger ring that used fake driver’s licenses to get cash from the cards, Sgt. Bob Johnston said.

Law enforcement is asking the public to report any people acting suspiciously or loitering in campground parking lots. Tener can be reached at (530) 573-3000.

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