COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — Sometimes a simple trip to the grocery store can be an overwhelming experience. Maybe it’s the unpredictability – or the stress that can occur after picking up the cart and entering the sliding doors.
For one ALDI customer, good deeds did not go unnoticed…but in fact, allowed him to be taken advantage of.
It was March 22 and a woman was shopping for discounted groceries for the day at an ALDI store near US 41 in Naples. While aiming for the spice section, a masked woman suddenly approaches him, and he needs help.
Chilli packets loomed overhead and the masked woman needed help. The woman in her 70s didn’t hesitate and took the item for her.
After that, the woman’s shopping continued as planned. Moments later though it was clear something was off. Fraud alerts started flooding his phone from his bank. The woman frantically checks her wallet, and it is missing… confirming her suspicions.
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) began investigating the incident and ALDI store security video shows as the woman turned her back on the masked woman, a masked man carrying a towel quickly retrieved items from his purse. The masked duo then left the shop together minutes later.
According to the CCSO, the couple then went shopping on their own, using the woman’s credit card. Bills for $6,000 were filed at stores in Collier County, including ABC Liquors, Home Depot, Game Stop, and Walmart.
Walmart security footage reveals that the male suspect has distinct finger and ankle tattoos. CCSO detectives were able to discern that the female suspect had a misshapen middle finger and white-painted fingernails.
On April 3, detectives arrested Oscar Samamamd-Lujan, 31, and Rosa Grados-Salvador, 63, along with two others on various credit fraud charges at TJ Maxx and Walmart Neighborhood Market off Airport-Pulling Road in North Naples, CCSO said. .
The case closely resembled the ALDI scam and detectives were able to match Samamamd-Lujan’s tattoo and Grados-Salvador’s deformed finger and painted fingernails to the ALDI suspect seen on camera.
Samamamd-Lujan faces an additional 31 counts of credit card fraud and theft. He was also charged with providing false information to law enforcement after he provided detectives with a forged passport during his arrest. Grados-Salvador is now facing 10 counts of credit card fraud and theft.
The Miami duo were taken to the Collier County Jail. Detectives believe the pair were part of a larger group that was traveling across Florida and carrying out various distraction theft schemes.