iPhone 5

Washington Police thwarted a plan to sell fraudulently purchased cellphones.

Police prevented a woman from picking up cellphones Saturday believed to have been purchased with stolen credit cards. Police said the elderly woman had no idea the phones were fraudulently purchased.

Officers were called to the AT&T store in the Phoenix Center just before 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Management called police and said an elderly woman was attempting to pick up several new iPhones.

Staff said the phones had already been paid for and the woman was just attempting to pick them up. However, management had flagged the phones. Police said the phones were paid for by a stolen credit card.

“She had been in several different locations and then she ships them back to a guy in New York City,” said Steve Sitzes, Washington Police detective sergeant. “She didn’t get any phones out there because management was aware of the fraudulent activity.”

Sitzes said woman was being used so the person who used the stolen credit cards wasn’t caught.

“It’s a scam, people buy these phones through stolen credit cards and then they get other people, often old people, to pick them up,” Sitzes said. “They say, ‘Oh can you pick up these phones for me, I’m a vet, I’m former military and I need them shipped out and I can’t pick them up.’ Then they end up selling them.”

Sitzes said the woman was very cooperative with police and was unaware of what she was being asked to do was part of a crime.

“A lot of these people, they don’t realize what fraud that they’re doing,” he said. “They’re just doing it for this guy.”

Sitzes said people should be aware of the situation and use caution to avoid being used as an accomplice in a crime.