Ofc, Teresa Fuller, 509.209.7188
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at 12:17 p.m.
Spokane Police Patrol Anti-Crime Team officers identify, locate and arrest suspect for multiple counts of Forgery and Theft after TV news viewers recognize they were victims of the same theft scam and report the incidents to police. 50-year-old Annette M. Paola was arrested and booked into Spokane County Jail for Forgery (X3), 1st Degree Theft and 2nd Degree Theft (X2). She will appear in court today at 1:30 p.m.
The Spokane Police Department began their investigation into the suspected fraud when the first reported theft occurred on 5-4-14 when an individual identifying herself as “Jayce Erickson” purchased a ’76 Chevy pickup off Craigslist with a cashier’s check later determined to be fraudulent.
Through investigation, SPD officers determined that on 5-6-14 “Jayce Erickson” purchased a ’03 Dodge Ram pickup from Craigslist and on 5-7-14 purchased a ’94 BMW from Craigslist, both with cashier’s checks later determined to be fraudulent.
On 5-12-14 a local news outlet aired a story on the vehicle thefts through this scam and several victims realized they had also fallen victim to the scam and contacted police.
The Spokane Police Department’s Patrol Anti-Crime Team (PACT) followed up quickly and obtained descriptions of the suspect from the victims, all of which were very detailed and consistent, including tattoos. Within hours, PACT was able to identify a possible suspect, the address she was known to frequent in the 2000 block of North Howard, and located both stolen pickups in an alley near the location.
PACT then contacted a female fitting the detailed descriptions given by the victims at the location she was reported to frequent and identified her as 50-year-old Annette Paola. Keys for both stolen trucks were found at the location.
The PACT team also determined the keys to an Audi TT Roadster found in one of the stolen trucks was purchased using a fraudulent cashier’s check in the name of “Jayce Erickson” on 5-1-14.
Anyone who owns this type of vehicle or who has attempted to sell it on Craigslist is asked to call Crime Check at 509.456.2233. The PACT team is also working on leads to locate and recover the stolen BMW.
Paola was booked into Spokane County Jail for Forgery (X3), 1st Degree Theft and 2nd Degree Theft (X2). Additional charges may be forthcoming as the investigation continues.
Paola is a convicted felon. Her two most recent convictions were for Possession of a Controlled Substance without a Prescription.
This is an outstanding example of partnership with the community, media and police to share information and stop criminal activity.
The Spokane Police Department would also like to remind citizens, both buyers and sellers, to verify all aspects of financial transactions both online or in person in order to prevent victimization.
Learn more about recognizing and preventing fraud by visiting the Office of the Comptroller of the Currents.
Officer John O'Brien