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Mon, Oct. 14

Police make pair of arrests in case of fraud, identity theft

PRESCOTT – Another case of alleged identity theft concluded Tuesday with two arrests.

Prescott Police Department (PPD) detectives arrested Nancy Mitchell, 45, and Heidi Shotts, 31, on charges of identity theft, burglary and fraudulent schemes.

Their arrests came after the staff at the Bank of America branch on Willow Creek Road alerted officers about the two women trying to get into a safe deposit box, which did not belong to either one.

Mitchell and Shotts represented themselves as the renter of the safe deposit box, a PPD press release said. They had also written several checks on the account of the same victim, an 89-year-old women who recently died from natural causes, the report said.

Det. Mark McClain said the suspects obtained the victim's information and checkbooks after they burglarized her home while she was in the hospital. Police believe the burglary took place sometime between Dec. 21 and Dec. 28. The victim died during that time, he said.

"There was stuff that was taken from the home for the purpose of committing a series of crimes," he said, adding that the victim was a friend with the family of one of the suspects and that she lived alone.

Upon her death, the victim's family received information from the bank about a suspicious activity happening with one of the victim's bank accounts as well as with her safe deposit box, he said. The family then notified the police.

McClain said that one of the suspects admitted to getting into the safe deposit box without taking anything out of it.

However, he said both women requested the access on three different occasions and he is waiting for the bank to give him video tapes to check what happened and whether they took anything.

He said one of the arrests may clear five to six other fraud cases.

McClain said that he be-lieves that three other individuals have been involved in this scheme and that all of them live or have lived in the tri-city area.

"They have definitely established a partnership," he said. "This would have been a significant fraud" if police and the bank had not acted promptly.

McClain said at the time of their arrest, the suspects had fake identification, which they produced based on the information that they obtained from stolen items.

He said it appears that they tried to establish credit accounts.

"There is still more (areas) to look at," he said.

People with information regarding this case may call McClain at 777-1924.

Contact the reporter at

mburicadam@prescottaz.com

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