Man tells ABC13 he doesn't understand how thief swiped SIM, credit card to make $74K in purchases

Miya Shay Image
Friday, April 21, 2023
Stolen SIM card makes way for thief to buy $74K worth of luxury items
In a detailed heist, the suspect swiped the victim's AMEX and SIM card, then went shopping at a store he had scoped one week prior with a forged version of the victim's ID.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A stolen phone SIM card was the crucial link that allowed a man to buy two Rolexes worth more than $44,000 and spend $30,000 at Louis Vuitton in the Galleria before anyone could stop it.

The man was captured on surveillance video at Houston Jewelry Buyers on Wednesday, closing the deal on two Rolex watches. However, the credit card that was used for the purchase did not belong to him.

On Wednesday, a Houston attorney went to Lifetime Fitness and placed all his belongings in a locker with a code in preparation to work out.

An hour later, the man opened his locker, and everything looked normal, but he noticed something was amiss when he got to his car.

"I didn't think anything about my phone. I just thought it was strange I didn't have service," the victim, who did not want to be identified for safety reasons, said.

SEE ALSO: Suspect wanted for spending $2K in purchases using stolen credit card across Houston, HPD says

"I looked at my phone more carefully, and it said, 'No Service, No SIM.' So there are not just credit cards missing, but they took my SIM card."

Also, what was missing? The victim's American Express credit card.

Not only did the suspect purchase $30,000 worth of Louis Vuitton, but he also purchased two watches totaling over $44,000.

Unfortunately, by the time the victim went to report the theft and cancel the card, the damage was done.

"An hour and 10 minutes to break into the lockers, steal the stuff, get the fake driver's license, and go to the store and make a purchase," he said

How did he get away with it? The man presented a false Arizona driver's license with the victim's name on the ID and the suspect's photo on it.

The stolen SIM card belonging to the victim was also placed in the suspect's cellphone.

However, when the suspect went to purchase the watches, the AMEX card did not initially go through.


The moment you find out your credit card or social security number has been compromised, you have to act fast to stop the damage.

"They denied it," Karen Moyers, a sales consultant at Houston Jewelry Buyers, said.

Moyers then says that American Express called the number on file, which rang to the stolen SIM card in the suspect's phone, to verify the purchase.

RELATED: Former Harris County mail room clerk held on $30,000 bond after allegedly stealing man's identity

"They called him because he had taken this man's SIM card, and put it in his phone. So, when American Express calls to verify the sale, he says, 'Yes, it's me.' That's how it happened," Moyers said.

Moyers said the man then tried to buy two more watches, but by then, the store owner came to the showroom and sensed something was off and declined to sell him the two other watches. That's when the suspect walked away.

"It is so scary. It really makes me angry. Someone could just blatantly do that to people and just be in the wind," Moyers said.

She said the incident was even more calculating because the same man had shown up at the store a week ago just to look around.

"He came in a week ago, and he was looking at several watches. He told me, 'My father and I like to collect watches, and I want to look around.' And I'm like, OK," she said.

SEE ALSO: Spring woman out on bond wanted for stealing multiple credit cards, police say

Moyers says the man didn't buy anything during the first visit, but during his second, armed with someone else's credit card, SIM card, and a fake ID, he successfully tricked the store.

As for the victim, he has shut down his credit cards and SIM card. The family has filed a police report. He's sharing his story in hopes it will help catch the thief but also warn others to be careful.

"It's a new one on me. I never heard anything like that."

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