Hilo couple charged with identity theft

Published On: Oct 25 2013 05:09:55 PM HST
Updated On: Oct 25 2013 05:16:09 PM HST

Brandi Heather McKee (left), Steven Robert Giatroudakis

HILO, Hawaii -

Big Island police have charged a Hilo couple with several offenses involving a stolen credit card.

Around 4 p.m. Wednesday, police received a phone call from a 22-year-old woman, who reported that she and her husband were following a sports-utility vehicle that was occupied by a man and woman suspected of using her husband's stolen credit card.

The vehicle was subsequently stopped by patrol officers, who arrested both occupants at 4:20 p.m. The SUV was recovered as evidence.

The victim, a 21-year-old Hilo man, informed police that at about 2:30 p.m., the same vehicle and its occupants had arrived at a repair shop on Railroad Avenue in Hilo to inquire about a possible repair.  After a short time, the couple abruptly left in the SUV.

Shortly thereafter, the victim received phone calls from his financial institution reporting suspicious transactions at two retail stores on Maka'ala Street.  The victim then discovered that his wallet and its contents, which had been at the repair shop, were missing.

After observing the same SUV on Maka'ala Street, the victim and his wife began to follow it and called police to report its location.

After their arrests, 30-year-old Brandi Heather McKee and 33-year-old Steven Robert Giatroudakis, both of Hilo, were taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives continued the investigation.

At 11 p.m. Thursday, after conferring with prosecutors, detectives charged both McKee and Giatroudakis with theft/forgery of a credit card, second-degree identity theft, third-degree identity theft, second-degree theft, third-degree theft, fourth-degree theft and two counts of fraudulent use of a credit card.

Bail was set at $15,750 each. They were scheduled to make their initial court appearance Friday afternoon.

Police were able to recover the victim’s wallet and merchandise allegedly purchased with his credit card.

"Immediate reporting of crimes involving a stolen credit or debit card is critical to a timely solution," said Lt. Greg Esteban.  "Other factors in preventing victimization include keeping credit cards and debit cards in a safe location and conducting periodic and regular checks on your statements."

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