Palo Alto police said a man who allegedly used counterfeit credit cards to defraud stores at Stanford Shopping Center had a stash of illegal weapons in his Oakland home.
The weapons were discovered in a Feb. 11 search following the Feb. 4 arrest of the man, Anthony Edward Alder Jr., for fraud-related charges at Stanford Shopping Center.
Police responded to a call from mall security on the afternoon of Feb. 4 that a man had tried to purchase a speaker system from the Bose store with a fraudulent credit. A clerk noticed the card was missing many of the typical security features.
When the first card did not work, Alder allegedly tried to use other credit cards, then became spooked as store staff tried to stall him. He left the store, police spokeswoman Sgt. Kara Apple said.
About 40 minutes later a Stanford Shopping Center security officer saw him inside Macy's. Police were immediately notified, and responding officers detained him outside the store without incident, Apple said.
Police found Alder was in possession of 11 altered or fraudulent credit cards in his name, but with credit card numbers belonging to others. He allegedly had successfully purchased several hundred dollars worth of gift cards from Macy's about three hours earlier, Det. Sgt. Brian Philip said in a statement.
Alder was booked into Santa Clara County Main Jail for felony charges of burglary, possession and use of fraudulent credit cards, and use of personal identifying information of another. He is on probation for narcotics offenses, stemming from a prior conviction in Alameda County for possession for sales of narcotics and possession of concentrated cannabis,according to Philip.
Police said Alder had attempted or completed a dozen additional fraudulent transactions at various retailers throughout Stanford Shopping Center that day.
Because all of the fraudulent credit cards were in Alder's true name but bore legitimate credit card numbers belonging to others, police believed the cards were altered or possibly manufactured, Philip said. It is not uncommon for persons entrenched in identity-theft crimes to own sophisticated credit card manufacturing equipment and supplies, he added.
Alder had posted bail by the time detectives obtained a search warrant for his residence. Because of concerns he might own illegal assault weapons, the Palo Alto Police Department's Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team assisted detectives with the search warrant on Feb. 11, at 9:30 a.m. in the 3300 block of East 17th Street in Oakland, Philip said.
Detectives found an illegal AK-47 assault rifle, a handgun that had been reported stolen during a March 2012, residential burglary in Manteca, high-capacity loaded magazines, and additional evidence of identity theft, including more fraudulent credit cards. Police did not find credit card manufacturing equipment, Philip said.
Alder, who was home at the time, was arrested for felony charges of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, possession of an illegal assault weapon, possession of stolen property, and a probation violation. Police booked him into the Alameda County Main Jail.
Anyone with additional information about these incidents can contact the Palo Alto Police Department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to [email protected] or sent by text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.