Last week, the West Union Police Department arrested a man after he reportedly stole $750.00 in gift cards from the West Union Wal-Mart.
According authorities, on February 5, Zhanhua Liu went into the West Union and took 26 gifts card without paying. According to police reports, the West Union Wal-Mart was alerted to Liu by management at the Maysville Wal-Mart. Liu reportedly hit the Maysville Wal-Mart days prior where he got away with “several” gift cards.
After securing a search warrant to search Liu’s vehicle, the West Union Police Department found hundreds of gift cards. At this time it is not clear how much the gift cards were worth, but police reports indicate the gift cards were worth “a lot of money.”
According to the West Union Police Department, Liu is not an American citizen and is in the United States illegally. Liu has been charged with theft, a misdemeanor and being held at the Adams County Jail. It is believed the United Sates Immigration and Customs Enforcement will take over the case. Liu is believed to be a Chinese citizen.
Last month, the Daily Herald in Utah reported similar reports. There, officers arrested two Chinese citizens, who reportedly purchased hundreds of gift cards from Walmart stores across Utah County as part of a widespread criminal enterprise.
Walmart officials identified Junliang Tang, 35, and Shuyan Wang, 33, as “part of a Chinese criminal organization” targeting Walmart stores across the nation.
A police probable cause report stated the organization uses credit card information stolen from online and phone scams to buy mass quantities of gift cards to resell for profit.
The phishing scams typically target the elderly and have caused more than $600,000 worth of loss to those individuals, investigators reported.
The male was observed in the (Saratoga Springs) store purchasing numerous thousands of dollars worth of gift cards using his phone at the self-checkout register,” police stated.
Officers arrested the man in the parking lot and determined he had several bags full of gift cards. After obtaining a search warrant, police found “hundreds of gift cards” from Walmart stores in American Fork, Cedar Hills, Pleasant Grove, Lindon, Draper, Sandy and South Jordan.
At this time, it is not clear if the arrests in Utah are connected to the West Union and Maysville Wal-Mart reported thefts.