A 19-year-old woman attempted to cash a fraudulent check Oct. 15 at Wells Fargo, 4299 NW 36th St., and set off an investigation involving several police agencies and numerous victims.
According to a report, a bank employee called police after a woman in the drive-thru wanted to withdraw $1,600 using another woman’s ID. However, earlier in the day, the actual account holder had notified the bank that her checkbook and ID had been stolen from her vehicle. Miami Springs police closed in and blocked a gray 2013 Volkswagen and questioned the driver and two passengers.
The driver was identified as Stephanie Araliz Ramirez, 19, of Coral Springs. A records check revealed that she had a no-bond warrant from Broward County for probation violation.
The 22-year-old female passenger and 25-year-old male passenger — both of Northwest Miami — were checked and both had extensive criminal pasts but no current warrants. The male had once been charged with shooting a police dog.
During an investigation, police learned that the Volkswagen had been stolen earlier in the day and the vehicle contained 12 stolen debit cards from five different victims, several stolen checkbooks, three sets of car keys, eight cell phones, an iPad, house keys, Social Security cards and a punch often used by thieves to break vehicle windows.
As the investigation continued and the number of victims increased, the incident gained interest from Coral Gables, City of Miami and Miami-Dade police, who sent detectives to investigate crimes in their jurisdictions.
The female and male passengers were transported to Miami-Dade police headquarters for further questioning. Ramirez was taken to the Miami Springs station and charged with vehicle theft, theft, fraud, possessing another person’s ID, possessing stolen credit cards, possession of a burglary tool and on the outstanding warrant.