Five California residents — suspected in a string of scams across the country — were arrested Wednesday at Nashville International Airport after security screeners noticed hundreds of magnetic striped cards in a suitcase, Metro police said.
A joint effort by U.S. Secret Service agents and Metro police officers revealed evidence the four men and one woman were operating a gift card scam.
Police say the group flew into Nashville on Tuesday from California, rented a vehicle, traveled to area Walmarts and allegedly used stolen credit card information to purchase gift cards.
The group was attempting to fly back to California with more than $10,000 in gift cards when they were stopped.
Police said the group likely bought the gift cards from Walmart stores in Nashville, Gallatin, Hendersonville, Lebanon and Smyrna.
The five are charged with conspiracy to commit fraudulent use of a credit card and conspiracy to commit identity theft. They are identified as:
Sylvester Knight, 42, of San Ramon, Calif.
David Lyles, 35, of San Leandro, Calif.
Aisha Garrison, 29, of Oakland, Calif.
James Edward Johnson, 24, of Oakland, Calif.
Devin Leverett, Sr., 34, of Oakland, Calif.
A fifth man fled the airport, police said. Efforts continue to positively identify and locate him.
This group is suspected in similar crimes in other cities across the country, police said.