Riverside police say a surveillance camera inside a taxi cab proved crucial in the arrest of a Riverside man who has been charged with financial identity theft, a felony.
A taxicab driver called police on Sept. 5 at about 4:35 a.m. after dropping off two men in the 200 block of Northwood Road. The driver was suspicious, because one of the men had just paid the fare with a credit card that had a woman’s name on it.
The subject told the cabdriver that the card belonged to his mother. When the two men exited the cab after paying, they went in separate directions and didn’t enter a home on Northwood Road, which the driver found odd. So he called police.
When officers arrived, they searched the cab and found a purse on the rear floorboard. The purse contained identification belonging to a 28-year-old Chicago woman. When contacted the following day by police, the woman said she’d lost her purse the night before in Rosemont, where she was attending a bachelorette party.
The purse contained a pair of prescription glasses, an iPhone, credit cards and other items, police said.
Police also viewed the surveillance camera footage from inside the cab. The camera was mounted at the front of the cab and pointed toward the back seat. Police reported recognizing the subject who allegedly used the woman’s credit card, 21-year-old Luis Verdin Jr., from a prior contact.
In addition, police said that in the surveillance video, Verdin was wearing the woman’s prescription glasses and was texting on the woman’s phone taken from her purse.
Detectives stated the woman left the purse in the cab when she was driven to her hotel from the bachelorette party. When the cab went back to Rosemont to pick up more passengers, the subjects from the Riverside incident got into the cab and found the purse, police said.
Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said that an arrest in this case might have been very difficult if not for the surveillance camera video, because Verdin’s Riverside residence is not near the 200 block of Northwood Road.
“Obviously, they exited the vehicle in the 200 block of Northwood so that it lessened their chances of being arrested by not having the cab drop them off in the area of their actual home addresses,” Weitzel said.
The other man in the cab at the time of the incident was not charged, because he wasn’t involved in the misuse of the credit card, according to police.
Verdin was arrested late on Sept. 6 and was freed from custody on Sept. 8 after posting bail following a bond hearing at the Maybrook courthouse.