Local businessman thwarts online thief

What would you do if your credit card was stolen to buy something online? A local business owner took matters into his own hands.

BAKERSFIELD, CA - What would you do if your credit card was stolen to buy something online? When it happened to the owner of Bakersfield Plastics, Bill Lever called Bakersfield Police. When Lever realized a detective would not look into his case until after the stolen item was shipped to the thief, he took matters into his own hands.

Lever says the crook made a charge for about $275 which he said was not a lot of money to him, but enough to encourage Lever to stop the shipment.

It was the Sunday before Christmas when Lever noticed the transaction.

"I looked at my cell phone and noticed an unusual charge on my Wells Fargo account," said Bill Lever.

It was for a NuWave oven charged to his Bakersfield Plastics company credit card totaling almost $275.

"It's not that much, but it wasn't nothing," said Lever.

Lever immediately called the oven company to stop the shipment.

"They didn't want to work with me at first, but then I kind of worked with one representative, then another," said Lever.

Finally Lever got the shipping and tracking number and learned the oven was coming to Bakersfield.

"I knew from the tracking report where it was all the way from Vernon down in Los Angeles and up here to Bakersfield," said Lever.

While waiting for the shipment, Lever filled out a police report. But, when he realized the detective assigned to his case was on vacation until next week, he decided to stop the shipment himself.

"I took the police report and faxed it to the company, and they reconsigned the shipment back to Illinois so it was at UPS's warehouse on Sillect," said Lever.

UPS then took it off the truck early Thursday morning.

"I just didn't want this criminal to get away with it," said Lever.

Bakersfield Police Sgt. Joe Grubbs said if your credit card is used to buy items online, do exactly as Lever did. File a report and call the company.

"It stops it outside of us. Of course we want to catch somebody. We want to put that somebody in jail absolutely. We want to do that, and we are aggressive about doing that, but there's a numbers issue," said Grubbs.

"Turning the shipment back, making sure the criminal didn't succeed was important," said Lever.

Lever said the credit card was misplaced at a local hardware store.

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