Retired Baton Rouge officer credited with spotting theft operation by group from Florida

Retired Baton Rouge officer credited with spotting theft operation by group from Florida
Jayson Carter, Mardasia Harris (Source: EBRSO)
Jayson Carter, Mardasia Harris (Source: EBRSO)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A retired police officer is credited with identifying a group of thieves who traveled from Florida to allegedly buy gift cards in Louisiana with fake credit cards.

According to the Baton Rouge Police Department, Jayson Carter, 36, and Mardashia Harris, 17, were spotted by a retired police officer inside the Lowe's at Cortana. That retired officer noticed their suspicious behavior.

"[The retired officer] observed the two repeatedly swiping several access cards for the purchase of numerous gift cards," states Sgt. Don Coppola. "Recognizing this as a common practice of theft operations, Baton Rouge Police Responded to the area.

When officers arrived, the alleged suspects were in a vehicle and were trying to leave the area. An officer attempted a traffic stop, but Harris, Carter took off running, along with two additional individuals who were not apprehended.

"BRPD Uniform Patrol Sergeant deployed his issued Taser striking [Carter]," states the probable cause report.

In the vehicle, officers found "numerous gift cards, newly purchased cell phones, and credit/debit cards, which many contained the same name."

During questioning, officers learned that the group of four drove from Tampa, FL to Baton Rouge and New Orleans. There they are accused of using the credit cards to buy 53 gift cards valued at $9,320 and seven cell phones with accessories valued at $5,512.51.

They also allegedly had 43 credit cards that had been altered.

Carter is charged with computer fraud (51 counts), access device fraud (43 counts), monetary instrument abuse (43 counts), identity theft (43 counts), felony theft and resisting an officer.

Harris is charged with principal to computer fraud (51 counts), principal to access device fraud (43 counts) principal to monetary instrument abuse (43 counts), principal to identity theft (43 counts) and felony theft.

Both were booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

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