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Thursday, April 25, 2024

North Carolina fraudsters with skimming device nabbed in taxi in Lake County

A pair of North Carolina men were arrested after a taxicab driver noticed his passengers were committing fraud in the backseat.

Lamarr Rashad Thomas
Lamarr Rashad Thomas
Tyron Cadarius Batts
Tyron Cadarius Batts

Mears Transportation, a taxi service based in Orlando, contacted deputies regarding two male passengers, which were later identified as 32-year-old Tyron Cadarius Batts and 34-year-old Lamarr Rashad Thomas, actively committing credit card fraud in the back seat of a taxicab around 5:30 p.m. Monday, according to an arrest report from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. 

Mears provided the cab’s location to be at 16129 State Road 50 in Clermont, described it as yellow in color and gave the tag number. They requested law enforcement investigate further, the report said. 

While on the way to the given location, the deputy learned the taxi was now westbound on State Road 50. He found the vehicle and followed it to the intersection of Steves Road and Cirtus Tower Boulevard. A traffic stop was then initiated, and the deputy made contact with the driver. 

The deputy then approached the passenger side of the taxi to speak with the two passengers in the backseat. While doing so, he noticed an open bottle of liquor sitting on the rear driver’s side floorboard. He asked both passengers to hand over their IDs and step out of the vehicle as a result, the report said. 

Batts, who sat on the rear driver’s side seat, gave his name and a North Carolina license. Thomas gave his name and a North Carolina license, as well. Batts also stated his Social Security number which was used for a criminal history check that came back with no results, the report said. 

The driver then gave the deputy permission to search the taxi. Upon looking over where Batts sat, he found a DEFTUN Bluetooth reader and writer in the pocket behind the front driver’s seat. Research revealed it to be a skimming device and recorder that collects credit card information with the ability to place the information onto magnetic strips, the report said. 

The deputy next searched where Thomas sat, leading to the discovery of a book on the middle rear seat containing a handwritten piece of paper between the pages. The deputy read the paper and found it was a ledger with multiple names, social security numbers, addresses and bank account numbers listed, the report said. 

Another deputy found multiple credit cards that did not belong to Batts or Thomas underneath the rear passenger seat. It was unknown at the time if they were stolen, the report said. 

These discoveries led to the pair being secured in handcuffs. Batts advised that the device belonged to his sister, and he used it to create hotel badges. Thomas stated the book with the ledger belonged to him. He advised that he used the ledger as a bookmark but did not write anything on it, the report said. 

Additionally, the deputy noticed a rolled cigarette containing a green leafy substance on the ground near Thomas. When asked, Thomas stated it dropped out of his pocket. The cigarette later tested positive for THC marijuana, the report said. 

A criminal history check for Thomas revealed that he had numerous previous convictions for obtaining property through false pretenses along with related charges out of North Carolina, the report said. 

Batts was arrested on charges of use of scanning device to defraud, forgery and obstruction by disguised person. He was transported to the Lake County Jail with bond set at $8,500.

Thomas was arrested on charges of use of scanning device to defraud and possession of marijuana. He was transported to the Lake County Jail with bond set at $6,000. 

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