Police Log: Fraudulent Return Transactions Total $46,000, Check Fishing and More
The news described in Westwood Minute's Police Log article series is primarily based on selected information from the Westwood Police Department's daily log and information provided by Lieutenant Christopher Sheehy and police staff. Occasionally, a few facts from other sources may be woven into these stories.
Monday, January 16th
Credit Card Fraud Over $7,000
10:10 a.m. A resident of Highland Glen Road told police that about one month earlier, fraudulent charges of $7,183 and $2 had appeared on the resident’s personal credit card statement. Both transactions were related to purchases from a Best Buy store in Minnesota. The resident reported the issue to his credit card company and has taken steps to protect his identity and personal information.
Sunday, January 15th
Driver Loses Control of Vehicle on Thatcher Street
1:25 a.m. A Westwood resident was driving his 2015 Chevrolet south on Thatcher Street when he lost control. His vehicle went off the side of the road into a ditch, becoming entangled in brush and shrubs. The vehicle received heavy damage to its front end. The driver received a very small, visible injury. After being examined by Westwood Fire paramedics, he was transported to Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Needham. The vehicle was towed. Police cited the resident with a marked lanes violation and OUI liquor.
Unemployment Benefits Fraud
8:58 a.m. A case of unemployment benefits fraud was reported by a resident of Dela Park Road. He had been notified by his company's Human Resources department about correspondence from the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) regarding an application for unemployment that was filed in his name. The company advised DUA that this was a fraudulent application and requested that he make a police report.
Police informed the resident that this issue has become common during the pandemic and that his should monitor his credit and bank accounts. He was also advised to request a PIN number from the IRS for filing taxes.
Saturday, January 14th
$46,000 in Fraudulent Return Transactions
10:37 a.m. Police responded to a report of a larceny in progress at Target. Video obtained by the police showed two people involved in making fraudulent returns by presenting receipts in exchange for amounts refunded on gift cards, but failing to actually return any merchandise.
One individual – a 23 year-old man from Flushing, New York - had received a $828 refund on a gift card for an Apple iWatch. However, the watch was not, in fact, returned.
Another individual – a 32 year-old man from East Meadow, New York – received $1,274 in gift cards for an iPad return, although no iPad was presented for the refund.
Both men were charged with aggravated shoplifting and conspiracy to commit the crime of larceny. The fraudulent transactions were enabled by an accomplice who is a Target employee working at the store. Police are conducting an investigation into the accomplice.
Police are aware of about $46,000 of such fraudulent returns made at Target. The returns include prior transactions dating back to at least December 2022.
8:32 p.m. Police responded to Del Frisco’s Grille restaurant on a report by the assistant general manager that an aggressive patron was attempting to force his way into the restaurant while the staff was actively blocking the door. Police arrived to find the man, who was possibly intoxicated. The man had been a customer of the eatery and had consumed two ounces of 25 year-old Macallan scotch for $215. He had been escorted outside for belligerent behavior. Now he was trying to get back inside.
Given the cold night, police escorted the man, who was from Hingham, to his lodgings at the nearby Courtyard Marriott. The man gave police his assurance that he would end his night’s activities. However, while police were still on the premises, the man got into his vehicle and commenced to drive it in the parking lot.
Police stopped him for OUI liquor and disorderly conduct. He was taken to Westwood Police Station. Bail was set at personal recognizance.
Friday, January 13th
Stolen License Plate
4:25 p.m. A woman residing on Partridge Drive told police that earlier the same day, she noticed her front license plate was missing from her Audi A5. The plate should have been attached with screws on the front bumper. The screws were gone. Police assisted her with reporting the plate as stolen.
Thursday, January 12th
Attempted Vehicle Break-In
2:52 a.m. A guest of the Courtyard Marriott hotel, a resident of Middlebury, Connecticut, reported a possible attempt by two individuals to break into his vehicle. The man had exited the hotel to walk to his vehicle in the parking lot when he heard some noise. He saw two people get up from beside his vehicle. They entered a newer model, silver Toyota Camry with dark, tinted windows and drove away.
The hotel guest returned to the lobby where the clerk assisted him in calling police. When police arrived, they checked the guest’s vehicle and found nothing missing and no damage. Police conducted an area search but did not find the silver Camry.
1:05 p.m. A resident of Circuit Road complained of receiving multiple calls from a person(s) using a blocked number who alleged to know the resident’s address, type of vehicle, driver’s license number and personal information. The complainant does not know the caller's motivation. Police advised the resident to contact them if anyone shows up at his home. The resident has also alerted his employer to the calls.
Wednesday, January 11th
Check fishing at Post Office
12:51 p.m. A resident of Gay Street informed Westwood Police of an attempt to cash stolen checks. There were two personal checks and one business check in the amounts of $17,634, $12,821 and $9,950. The checks had been deposited in a mailbox outside the U.S. Post Office on Washington Street. Attempts to cash the checks were unsuccessful, so the resident has not reported losing any money.
Shoplifting, Second Offense
6:03 p.m. Police arrested a 62 year-old woman for shoplifting at Wegmans. She had been detained by the store’s asset protection personnel who observed her leaving the store with merchandise totaling $688.64. The merchandise included tenderloin, strip steads, ground beef, lamb, chicken, a kitchen towel set, neoprene oven mitt and dog supplies.
Police issued the Sandwich resident, formerly a resident of Westwood, a notice of trespass and informed her that she was being arrested for shoplifting, a second offense. The woman was held at Westwood Police Station until she was able to make her $190 bail.
Tuesday, January, 10th
2:41 p.m. Westwood Police were contacted by a corporate security executive to advise police that a high ranking officer in the company, and Westwood resident, may be the subject of threats arising from a business dispute. The FBI is investigating.
Monday, January 9th
Crossing a Line
8:47 a.m. An officer was in a cruiser on East Street when a Ford F-150 truck approached from the opposite direction and crossed five to six feet over the double yellow line into the cruiser’s lane.
The officer turned on the cruiser’s blue lights to wake the driver and took evasive action to avoid being struck. The officer turned the cruiser around to pull over the truck driver.
The driver, a man from Taunton, explained that he had been sent to work in Norwood early this morning, and his truck drifted while he consulted his GPS.
The officer issued the driver a citation for a marked lands violation and for having no driver’s license in his possession.