Police Beat

An Anacortes woman fell victim to another computer scam which cost her over $7,000 as a result of several transactions over the past week or so.

An Anacortes woman contacted the Anacortes Police to report that she had been a victim of fraud and possibly identity theft. The woman stated that the fraudulent activity was initiated approximately a week previous when she received a call from an individual claiming to sell computer virus software that would prevent her computer from being attacked by a malicious virus. The caller was given remote access to the victim’s computer with the understanding that the antivirus software would be installed for a fee of $320, which would be refunded after 30 days of use.

Within a few days the victim noted a $3,600 deposit in her bank account and soon thereafter she received another call stating that the refund was a mistake and requested that she wire the money to China. The caller also implied that he lived in a poor country and a mistake such as this could cost him his job. As the caller’s story seemed sincere, the victim complied with the request to send money and the following day she received another call stating that the money from the previous day had not been received and she would need to send it again, which she did. A final call from an individual claiming they were from Microsoft Security stated that the woman had been a victim of fraud and once again requested that money be wired, this time to India. All told, over $7,000 in funds were exchanged to unknown parties in India and China.

The Anacortes Police Officer speaking with the victim advised her that there would not be much that APD could do since the money had been wired out of country. He did offer tips to mitigate future problems such as unplugging her computer from the Internet and having the device wiped and reformatted since the remote access that she granted the original caller had likely given him access to personal identifying information as well as financial accounts. She had already taken steps to close and re-issue existing bank accounts and flag her credit information should there be attempts to establish lines of credit without her approval.

Here are some other cases Anacortes Police worked on this week.

Saturday, March 7

1:44 am.  A 23 year-old Anacortes man was charged with driving under the influence early Saturday morning when he was contacted by an Anacortes Police Officer on the 3300 block of Oakes Avenue for driving over the fog and center lines multiple times and bearing expired registration tabs. At the time of contact, the Officer smelled a strong odor of intoxicants coming from the vehicle and the driver exhibited several signs of intoxication such as watery, droopy, bloodshot eyes and slow, labored speech. The driver provided a voluntary breath sample which yielded results of well over the legal limit to safely operate a motor vehicle. Meanwhile, a search of the vehicle was performed and four bottles of beer—two opened, two unopened—were found. As a result of the Officer’s discoveries, the driver was taken into custody on DUI charges and transported to the Anacortes Police Department for processing. He was later transported to a residence within city limits and released to a sober adult.

9:08 pm.  A 16 year-old female was taken into custody by Anacortes Police on Saturday evening after an anonymous caller stated that they had seen her on Commercial Avenue. APD had probable cause to arrest the juvenile for an alleged assault on a family member earlier in the day and she was also listed as a signed juvenile runaway. Officers contacted the juvenile and another female, later determined to be 15 years of age, near 16th Street and Commercial Avenue. The suspect was carrying a bag at the time of contact and tried to hand it off to her friend stating, “You can have your bag back”. The APD Sergeant speaking with her searched the bag and found an unopened 1.75 liter bottle of Vodka. The juveniles stated that they had stolen the alcohol from a nearby business for someone else and did not intend to consume it. Both subjects were taken into custody—the 16 year-old on domestic violence assault charges from the incident earlier in the day and both subjects were charged with minor in possession and theft. They were booked into the Skagit County Juvenile Detention Center on their charges.      

Sunday, March 8

11:37 pm.  An Anacortes Police Officer was dispatched to a one-car motor vehicle accident at Washington Park on Sunday evening. The 69 year-old driving the vehicle had intended to go to the ferry landing to watch the boats, but was disoriented and missed the turn. He then fell asleep and struck the guardrail and sign at the entrance to the park causing significant damage to the sign and approximately $2,000 damage to the car he was driving. No one was injured in this incident. The driver was issued a traffic infraction for Negligent Driving and recommended for driver re-examination.

Monday, March 9

8:39 pm.  An Anacortes Police Officer took a 21 year-old La Conner woman into custody Monday evening following a traffic stop on the 2700 block of Oakes Avenue when he noticed that the Pontiac she was driving had an inoperable headlight. When asked for her driver’s license, the woman stated that she did not have one and further investigation revealed that her driving privileges had been revoked since December 2014 for unpaid tickets. She was issued a citation for driving with a suspended license and released from the scene.

Tuesday, March 10

11:43 am.  An employee at Safeway contacted Anacortes Police to report that a familiar customer had walked off without paying for $8 worth of chicken. It was reported that this was not the first time that this had occurred with this individual. The employee provided a description of the subject and shortly thereafter an Anacortes Police Sergeant contacted the man in a nearby parking lot. The 33 year-old subject was interviewed by Police and initially denied stealing anything, then admitted to stealing the food because he was hungry and had already discarded the items. The subject was taken into custody and charged with Theft. He was also trespassed from the 11th Street business and released from the scene.

12:24 pm.  Anacortes Police Officers were dispatched to a verbal domestic dispute between a male and female occurring at a commercial location on 12th Street. A vehicle description was provided and an APD Sergeant contacted the vehicle on the 900 block of 7th Street. Both parties stated that their argument was over some personal property and nothing physical had occurred. The male subject was found to have two Anacortes Municipal Court Warrants for Theft and he was booked and released on his warrants.

Wednesday, March 11

7:22 pm.  On Wednesday evening, an Anacortes Police Officer contacted the driver of a Ford pickup traveling eastbound on SR 20 in Anacortes due to a white light hanging from the bumper. The 23 year-old Anacortes man was able to re-connect his license plate light with the Officer present, but was unable to provide the requested driver’s license, proof of insurance, or registration for the vehicle. The subject’s driver’s license was determined to be suspended for failure to pay child support and unpaid tickets. He was taken into custody and issued a criminal citation for Driving With License Suspended and a traffic citation for Operating a Motor Vehicle Without Liability Insurance. He was provided a courtesy transport to his home by the Officer.

Thursday, March 12

2:57 pm.  A 58 year-old La Conner man was issued a traffic citation for failure to yield right of way when he drove his Lexus sedan into the path of an oncoming semi-truck traveling northbound on SR 20 near Sharpes Corner. The Lexus sustained heavy damage in the rear quarter panel but there were no injuries.