Thieves Stole IDs, Computers

One pleads guilty; another on the run

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Police in four North Texas cities busted an identity theft ring that ordered computers online and then stole the shipments off people's front steps.

    Ranier Amankwah pleaded guilty to the scheme on Monday and agreed to a 13-year prison sentence.

    Man Gets 13 Years in ID Theft Ring

    [DFW] Man Gets 13 Years in ID Theft Ring
    Police say an identity-theft ring ordered computers online and then stole the shipments when they were delivered to the victims' homes. (Published Thursday, Aug 25, 2011)

    Another man, Harry Arhin, was charged in the case but fled before his trial, police said. Both men are from Ghana.

    Don, who asked that his last name not be used for fear of reprisals, was one of the victims.

    He recently noticed someone had stuck a note on the front door of a house he was selling in Southlake.

    The note said, "Please leave my package at the front door, thanks."

    "It's like, 'I don't know of any package,'" he said Thursday.

    Don said he didn't think much of the note until he received a phone call from Dell computer company informing him he was a victim of identity theft. The next day, he received a computer he never ordered.

    Dell caught on.

    The thieves used stolen IDs to order computers by creating fictitious accounts over the Internet, then grabbed the boxes when they were left on the victims' doorsteps. They posted the notes so delivery drivers would leave the shipments without trying to make contact with the recipient.

    But by then, the crimes had spread to Arlington, Grapevine, Southlake and Colleyville.

    Don said he never thought anyone would be able to steal his identity.

    "You know, I do everything you're supposed to do," he said. "I put through the shredder, you know, all my information."

    At the time of their arrests, Amankwah and Arhin were on bond on another charge of identity theft. They were arrested in Arlington in a car with dozens of stolen identities.

    Don said it was "unbelievable," adding that he doesn't know how they stole his identity in the first place.

    He said he did not lose any money but the ordeal gave him a headache and caused him to spend hours trying to protect his credit.

    "[I'm] one victim of many," he said.