2 women charged with identity theft in connection with cashing stolen checks

A wig and a speedy tip from a bank teller helped Chapel Hill police arrest and charge two Florida women for forging stolen checks at a local Wells Fargo.

But police officials say identity theft cases like this are often difficult to catch in time.

A bank teller called the Chapel Hill Police Department on Thursday to report suspicious activity of two women, one of whom was wearing a wig.

TIPS TO AVOID ID THEFT

- Leave important documents — like social security cards and birth certificates — at home.

- Do not enter private information such as credit card numbers or checking information to unsecured websites.

- Keep copies of private information and documents in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box.

- Do not throw away paper bank statements, or consider switching to online banking.

- Do not give away your Social Security number unless necessary.

Kimberly Ann Jones was arrested that day and charged with two felony counts of identity theft and six other felony counts.

She was also charged with four misdemeanors.

Meggan Zarrilli was also charged as an accomplice to the crime and arrested Thursday.

She is charged with one felony count of identity theft, one count of misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia and four other felony counts.

Chapel Hill police spokesman Sgt. Josh Mecimore said the women have been accused of cashing stolen checks in Chapel Hill at least once before.

The women were first reported by an employee at the State Employees’ Credit Union in Chapel Hill on March 14 for identity theft.

Mecimore said the report came after the women left, so police couldn’t make an arrest.

He said it can be hard to make arrests for identity fraud because banks often don’t notify police immediately after crime occurs.

“We just happened to get there quickly enough to catch them as they were doing it,” Mecimore said. “Typically, we don’t get notice until days later.”

He said identity theft often happens within separate jurisdictions, which can pose problems.

In this case, Mecimore said Chapel Hill has jurisdiction over the identity theft arrests, but a driver’s license was stolen in Mecklenburg— giving Charlotte-Mecklenburg police jurisdiction over identity theft arrests.

The case is still under investigation.

UNC Department of Public Safety spokesman Randy Young said students rarely report identity theft, but should if it happens.

“We would rather hear about it and connect the person to the correct agency, than not hear about it at all,” he said.

Contact the City Editor at citydesk@dailytarheel.com.

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