THREE RIVERS, MI (WTVB) - Border counties like Branch and St. Joseph are still susceptible to crooks who smuggle smokes for illegal profits. Three Rivers Police got a tip that a man who was buying up thousands of dollars worth of cigarettes from convenience stores using stolen credit card numbers was headed toward a gas station in their community. They arrested him as soon as he appeared. Police became suspicious when he purchased $8,000 worth at one location. Michigan has some of the highest cigarette taxes in this part of the country and the only reason for a man from Indiana would come into Michigan to buy them would be credit fraud, because they can be resold for cash.
The 45-year-old from Chicago is charged with 17 counts of fraudulent credit card possession, and is also wanted in Indiana on similar charges. He gave officers a fake name, but a fingerprint check revealed his I.D.