19 arraigned in gift card theft scheme, authorities expect more - WDRB 41 Louisville News

19 arraigned in gift card theft scheme, authorities expect more

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Suspects appear in court. Suspects appear in court.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The number of people involved in a gift card scheme continues to rise as 19 people were scheduled to be arraigned Monday morning.

Since September 2013, there have been 144 defendants in similar cases and Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Stacy Greive say she believes the number will increase because the crimes have not stopped.

Greive says most of the people involved are motivated by drug addiction. Investigators say it starts with shoplifting at stores like Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Lowe's.

“The biggest target has been the home improvement stores because of their policies, because of the type of products that are easy to conceal and be returned for a high dollar amount,” Greive said.

Once they return the items for gift cards, authorities say they exchange gift cards for cash at places like Action Pawn and Easy Cash Pawn.

Greive said one group sold $173,000 worth of gift cards to stores in the area.

“In my opinion,” says Greive. ”The only way it can be broken is by not having a place to sell gift cards to.”

She says there is a possibility stores may face criminal charges.

LMPD says the investigation is ongoing.

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