Palo Alto credit card leads to two robbery arrests

Father and daughter charged with possession of stolen property for buying a PlayStation with credit card taken during a December robbery

Palo Alto police arrested two Sunnyvale residents who allegedly used a credit card that was stolen during a December robbery on El Cajon Way to buy a Sony PlayStation game console.

The arrest of Shamika Westmoreland, 28, and her father, Rickey Westmoreland, 58, was the latest in a recent string of arrests made by Palo Alto police since a wave of street robberies shook up the city last fall. At least 10 people have been arrested so far, some of whom were involved in more than one robbery, police said.

There were about 21 robberies committed in Palo Alto during the spree, which began in late September, according to police Lt. Sandra Brown.

The latest break came after police learned that Rickey Westmoreland used his e-mail address to register a PlayStation that was bought with a stolen credit card. On Dec. 11, a man approached a woman as she was getting out of her car in the driveway of her home on El Cajon Way and ran off with her purse. Police later arrested Dean Allen Holmes, 23, of San Jose, in connection with the robbery.

Police learned that the credit card used to buy the PlayStation was the one taken during the El Cajon Way robbery. Brown said Holmes and the Westmorelands were acquaintances and that the father and daughter knew that the console was purchased with a stolen credit card. Rickey and Shamika Westmoreland were arrested on Feb. 18 and charged with felony possession of stolen property.

Police had also charged Holmes with robbing a pizza deliveryman at gunpoint in the 4000 block of Ben Lomond Drive on Jan. 10. Holmes was arrested last month after police found an iPod that was bought with a stolen credit card at his house.

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Posted by Wondering?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2011 at 12:13 pm

> Police learned that the credit card used to buy the PlayStation
> was the one taken during the El Cajon Way robbery

Something is a little odd here. If this is the same credit card that was used to track down Holmes (the "snatcher"), then it would seem that the owner of the card did not call the credit card provider and report the cards as stolen immediately. If not, why not?

Or do the credit card people work with local police to effectively entrap holders of stolen credit cards by allowing them to make purchases that subsequently result in theft charges.

It would seem that a stolen credit card that has been canceled because of theft, would be valueless, and any attempts to purchase merchandise declined..thereby averting a crime, for both merchant and potential thief.

Anyone have any other information about what happens when a credit card is reported stolen to the card issuer?

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 2, 2011 at 1:09 pm

I believe they shut down the card immediately. Maybe this wasn't done on purpose to see if they could be caught, or the cardholder forgot about this card. It'll be interesting to see if more info is made public. Sheesh, like a PlayStation is worth being arrested for? Such petty, nasty, stupid people. Perhaps they bought the card from the thief.

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 2, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Police departments have been known to work with CC companies in order to help lure/snag CC thieves.

Like this comment
Posted by Good job!
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 2, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Great! I hpoe that police and credit card companies cooperate. Catch the crooks!

Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 2, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Are you crazy?

Entrapment occurs when one commits a crime he would not have the usual propensity to commit. We are dealing with hardened criminals here.

Show us the mugshots!

Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 2, 2011 at 8:25 pm

I agree, we need to see pix of these folks. How sad that the accused are a father and daughter. I like the idea that we must cancel our stolen credit cards, not to protect our own accounts, but to prevent the criminals from performing these acts against their will.

Like this comment
Posted by the accuser
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 21, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Me n my father wat not involved in this some time police r the stupid ones I was accused but dis missed when they found out me or my father had nothing to do with this I am a perfect women when it comes to crimes this was my first n last time getting arrested and I'm a hard working women and my father is to we bought the ps3 off of the Craigslist and didn't know that it was stolen we can afford it but the ps3 because after the police took it we went and spent 500 on a brand new one we just bought it because it was Christmas and a gud deal so ppl dnt judge wat u do nit know n dnt believe everything u read

Like this comment
Posted by the accuser
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 21, 2012 at 11:46 pm

And I wish they wood take this off of here it makes me look like something I'm not a criminal I never have and never will b a criminal I teach my son that jail is not a good place to go but they came to my house n arrested me in front of my son all for a crime I didn't do and I had to explain that to my 9yr old son I was embarrassed and I feel I have no freedom in life the police can do wat ever they want to u and its OK

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