Lakeland woman arrested, deputies find interesting inventory of stolen items and identities

Lakeland woman arrested, deputies find interesting inventory of stolen items and identities


LAKELAND, Fla.—There are people who wear many hats to get things done, and then there are people who have several identities — that were stolen — to allegedly commit crimes.

Polk County Sheriff’s deputies said they arrested Tara Thompson in June during a retail theft investigation at Lowes. During the arrest, deputies found eight credit and debit cards with different names on them in her purse.

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Deputies said Thompson told detectives they were pre-paid cards, but when they asked her about the names on them, they say she changed her story.

Investigators subsequently searched her house on Parker Street West in Lakeland, where they found notebooks and pieces of paper which listed several names, personal identification numbers, social security numbers, bank account numbers and other important information.

Thompson admitted to having stolen merchandise at her house, including a Wal-Mart merchandise scanner, an anti-theft device countermeasure tool, an activated Staples Card which belonged to one of the victims, and a home video surveillance system, investigators said.

Detectives eventually identified 16 victims including individuals and financial institutions.

Thomason racked up an impressive list of charges, they say.

Because Thompson was allegedly in possession of multiple victims’ personal identification forms without their consent, she was charged with unlawful possession of personal ID. She was also charged with criminal use of personal ID for using a victim’s personal identification to activate a Staples store credit card, as well as receiving bank checks in a victim’s name, according to investigators.

Thompson was also charged with grand theft for having stolen goods and for possessing a victim’s bank check with Thompson’s own signature, investigators say. She is also charged with one count of scheming to defraud a financial institution after submitting applications six times to open new bank accounts in other peoples’ names, according to law enforcement.

“I appreciate the hard work of our investigators, in this case, to hold Ms. Thompson accountable for her multiple thefts and fraud. We are going to continue to work with our local retailers and financial institutions to fight retail theft and financial ID theft.” Sheriff Grady Judd said.

Thompson was booked into the Polk County jail and then released after posting a $9,000 bond.

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