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Diasporian News of Thursday, 24 January 2013

Source: Seth Augenstein/The Star-Ledger

Man claiming to be from Ghana arrested

... for identity theft at Linden Walmart, police say

LINDEN — A Newark man claiming to be from Ghana was arrested at Walmart for identity theft and credit-card fraud when he allegedly tried to pick up three laptops bought online, police said.

Gabriel Agyapong, 21, was arrested at the West Edgar Road store Tuesday afternoon and later charged with theft by deception, two counts of identity theft, and two counts of fraudulent use of a credit card, said Lt. James Sarnicki of the Linden police.

Agyapong was attempting to pick up three Asus laptop computers valued at $458 apiece, which were purchased through two separate credit card transactions online, Sarnicki said. The store contacted the police after checking on the transaction, he added.

Agyapong told the officers that he was only following instructions e-mailed to him by a friend in Ghana, police said.

The police then contacted the two cardholders, who live in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Both said they hadn’t made the purchases – and hadn’t given anyone the authority to make the online purchases, Sarnicki said.

Agyapong told officers he is originally from Ghana. He gave a Newark address as his current residence. Sarnicki said the police department is checking with Immigration Customs and Enforcement to find out more about Agyapong’s background.

He is currently being held at the Union County Jail on $82,500 bail, police said.

The investigation is continuing, police said.

“This credit card fraud is becoming quite common,” Sarnicki said. “It’s a big part of our job right now.”

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