November 14, 2011 —
State Police BCI Investigators from SP Livingston Thursday evening arrested 27 year old SEKHOU TOURE of New York City at the Columbia County Jail upon his release by the Claverack Town Court on a similar charge.
State Police charged TOURE with IDENTITY THEFT 1st degree a class D felony. This arrest is the result of an ongoing investigation which began back in August of this year when over 200 area residents had their credit card numbers stolen and used illegally.
The multi agency investigation began at an August meeting at SP Livingston that included the United States Secret Service, Columbia County District Attorney Beth Cozzolino, Hudson Police, Greenport Police, Stockport Police and County Deputies.
With the assistance of area banks & credit unions it was determined that the Smokers Choice Cigarette store in Greenports Fairview Plaza was a common denominator in the investigation. Smokers Choice information Technology Specialists were already looking into the problem and fully cooperated.
State Police investigators from Troop F in Middletown secured Smokers Choice computers from their HQ’s in Orange County.They were subsequently examined by the State Police Computer Crimes specialists at the Crime Lab in Albany where it was determined they were compromised by hackers located in Russia, TOURE’S connection is still under investigation. In furthering the investigation investigators received invaluable assistance from Walmart security who provided information and video surveillance.
On Sept. 16, 2011 Walmart in Wallkill NY re-contacted Hudson Police Detectives informing them suspects were presently in the store, Hudson Police contacted State Police and Troopers from Middletown were able to arrest 3 subjects including SEKHOU TOURE . Investigators have also been in contact with New York City Police and the Queens DA office where over 100 people from different states and countries were arrested recently in a very similar Identity theft scam. Investigators also received information and have been in contact with authorities in North Carolina.
TOURE was arraigned in Greenport Town Court by the Hon Robert Brenzel and was remanded back to the Columbia County Jail without bail, he is scheduled to reappear Monday 11/14 at 3pm. This Charge is in connection with a victim from Germantown whos card number was used illegally at Walmart in Greenport to buy untraceable Gift Cards on August 20th. The card owner had previously made purchases at Smokers Choice.