Charge stolen cards — get charged


Damien Alexander McVay

Man charged with identity theft in relation to 22 metro-wide thefts

Damien Alexander McVay, 26, has been charged with identity theft in Washington County in relation to 22 thefts he allegedly committed throughout the metro area between February and June this year.

McVay and a 23-years-old male accomplice, who has not been charged with a crime at this time, were arrested June 9.

According to the criminal complaint, though various thefts occurred throughout the Twin Cities, at least one theft was in Maplewood, and some of the places McVay and his accomplice allegedly used stolen credit and debit cards were the North St. Paul Target and a Maplewood Holiday gas station.

The pair allegedly used a tool known as a window punch to quickly break car windows and then grab purses, wallets, cell phones and other items of value, according to court documents. 

They then allegedly used their victims’ debit and credit cards to purchase expensive merchandise, totaling more than $35,000 worth overall.

McVay faces a maximum sentence of 20 years, a $100,000 fine or both.

Washington County courts

Washington County Attorney Pete Orput charged McVay with aiding and abetting identity theft June 10. He is to have no contact with the victims and bail was set at $25,000 under the condition of GPS monitoring or $50,000 without conditions, according to court documents.

“Due to the ongoing criminal conduct of McVay … the number of victims and criminal history, high bail is requested to protect public safety from future criminal conduct,” Orput said in a statement.

McVay’s first court appearance was June 15 and a jury trial is scheduled for Aug. 15.

“This office is committed to taking a hard line on cases such as this in hopes that this type of crime is deterred,” Orput said in the statement.

How identities were stolen

McVay allegedly used his black BMW sedan with no license plate and a 21-day temporary permit in the rear window during the thefts, according to court documents, or a 2006 Mitsubishi Galant. Several of the stolen items, as well as window punches, small screwdriver-like tools that can shatter windows, were recovered from both vehicles. 

According to the criminal complaint, McVay and his accomplice typically used the stolen credit and debit cards at gas stations and Target stores, where they usually tried to purchase expensive electronics, gas or Newport cigarettes.

McVay and his accomplice would target fitness center parking lots, golf course parking lots and other places where people would commonly leave valuables in their vehicles, court documents say.

Locations targeted

While the two were arrested in Washington County, their crime spree, which is thought have run between Feb. 10 and June 9, according to court documents, spans five counties and two states.

The criminal complaint suggests there were five related thefts at Lifetime Fitness locations including in Woodbury, St. Louis Park and Roseville. The LA Fitness center in St. Louis Park and Larkin Dance Studio in Maplewood also had related thefts.

Golf courses were other popular targets for McVay and his accomplice, and according to the criminal complaint, there were eight total thefts associated with the pair, which includes courses in Plymouth, Edina, St. Michael, Bloomington and Lakeville.

Three related thefts occurred at parks in Eden Prairie and Edina. A private beach in White Bear Township and the Town Country Club in St. Paul were also targeted. Several other thefts were on cars parked elsewhere in various cities: one in Maple Grove, two in Eden Prairie, two in Edina and one in Hudson, Wisconsin. 

Of 25 known occasions of related theft, as detailed on court documents, McVay is only alleged to have carried out 22 of them. 

According to the Bureau of Justice, 17.6 million U.S. residents were victims of identity theft in 2014, and although McVay was caught, he was allegedly able to do the same thing 22 times before that happened.

Orput said in a statement, “This is the type of organized criminal activity that too often misses the attention of the public. Identity Theft, however, is a pernicious and time consuming crime for the victim, as well as society as a whole.”

Aundrea Kinney can be reached at 612-748-7822 or akinney@lillienews.com.

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