Thief caught on camera goes on shopping spree

Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 6:00 PM CST
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WEST FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The cold isn’t deterring thieves. A man was caught on camera rummaging through a car in the Elmwood neighborhood in West Fargo.

At 1:30 a.m on Tuesday, Jan. 4 Elena Gartner’s home surveillance camera’s caught a man walking around the neighborhood.

“Who is going to break into a car at 14 below?” Gartner questioned.

In the video, the crook is seen walking up the driveway where he discovers her car door was unlocked. He got lucky, her purse was left in the car, which she said she never does. The frigid night before Gartner was in a rush.

“My three-year-old was screaming crying, my six-month-old was crying because he was hungry, I just wanted to get them inside and get them fed,” she explained.

In a hurry, she left her wallet, AirPods, medications, and jewelry in the car. Now, they’re all gone. After the thief got what he wanted he ditched the purse in a neighbor’s yard. Gartner said all that was left was chapstick and hand lotion. Then, he went on a shopping spree with her debit cards.

“He went to Holiday gas station by my house,” she said, “We have him on camera using my card.”

She said he also made purchases at Cash Wise, Q Smoke, and Domino’s Pizza. When he tried to make a $400 online purchase at Walmart, Gartner’s bank sent her a fraud alert.

“Yup! It’s a fraud,” she recalled.

She immediately shut down her debit cards and is working to dispute the more than $200 of purchases the thief did get away with. She also filed a report with West Fargo Police.

She said having the crook on camera doesn’t make her feel better, she remembers him every time she gets in her car.

“I still have this eerie gross feeling about being around it, he touched everything,” said Gartner.

She said she isn’t giving up until the thief is held accountable. Police have yet to come up with a suspect saying the investigation is ongoing.

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