2 suspects arrested for crime spree in Western NC, deputies say

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(MGN graphic)(MGN)
Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 11:06 AM EDT
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ASHEVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office said two people were arrested in connection to a crime spree over the last two years.

The Sheriff’s Office said in August of 2020 it received multiple reports in the Bent Creek Experimental Forest and surrounding areas where the offenders used a keypunch to break into cars and stole credit and debit cards. The offenders then used the stolen cards to purchase high-end electronics, luxury items, and gift cards.

After establishing this pattern of criminal activity, deputies said over the next six months identified 17 more cases in the same manner. Officials in Transylvania Count also identified multiple cases that matched the same patterns.

Deputies said in Feb. of 2021, the Goldsboro Police Department arrested Patricio Ricardo Lagos Erazo and Belgica Belen Rivera and found thousands of dollars in gift cards inside their rental car.

The Sheriff’s Office said the case was handed over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Lagos Erazo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit access device fraud and was sentenced to 14 months in prison earlier in 2022.

Belen Rivera is still awaiting trial, according to officials.

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