By the time we had the reports from the victim about where the cards were being used, it was sheer luck that we had an officer in the area having lunch. —Layton Police Lt. Jason Hinojosa
LAYTON — "Sheer luck" and a diligent woman who tracked those using her stolen bank card helped officers locate the thieves within 15 minutes, police said.
"It was very fast," Layton Police Lt. Jason Hinojosa said of the incident. "By the time we had the reports from the victim about where the cards were being used, it was sheer luck that we had an officer in the area having lunch."
Around 1:15 p.m. Thursday, the Layton woman called police and reported that her purse was missing from her vehicle, which was parked in her garage, Layton Police Lt. Shawn Horton said. The woman also called her financial institutions to report that her bank cards had been stolen.
The cards were canceled, Horton said, but the woman began to receive text alerts showing that one of the cards was being used in Layton. She, in turn, passed information to the police about when and where they were being used.
An employee at one location was able to provide a vehicle description, and when the victim was alerted that her card was being used at a Maverik store at 2014 N. Hill Field Road, police responded. Horton said they located the suspect vehicle around 1:30 p.m.
A man and woman were inside, eating food from a restaurant where the card had just been used. Hinojosa said a Layton officer was eating lunch at the same restaurant and was able to quickly respond to the Maverik down the road.
"It was really just sheer luck that we had officers in the right place at the right time," Hinojosa said.
Anthony Chavez, 48, and Jamie Lucero, 37, were arrested for investigation of burglary, theft, unlawful possession of a financial card and other charges. Horton said they were in a vehicle that had been reported stolen out of South Jordan and had both a stolen license plate and an identification card stolen from someone in Salt Lake County.
Investigators believe the pair used the stolen card at several businesses in the area and may be responsible for similar incidents "up and down the Wasatch Front," Hinojosa said.