FRESNO, California (KGPE) – The culmination of a four-month investigation led by the Fresno Help Eliminate Auto Theft task force or “HEAT,” Fresno Sheriffs Office, CHP, Clovis Police, and the DMV ends in a massive identity theft bust.
It involves stolen cars, fake IDs and much more. Investigators believe there are hundreds of victims.
Investigators arrested the man who lived at the home on Kerckhoff Avenue in Southeast Fresno after spending much of the day Friday searching the home and collecting evidence.
They found two stolen cars– a Challenger and Mustang, worth more than $100,000. Officials say the cars were bought with a fake ID and the Mustang was being broken down. They believe the man was selling the parts.
In the garage of the home, they found at least six computers, some printers, stolen credit cards and drivers licenses, all believed to be used to make fake identification cards.
They say the suspect collected personal information from hundreds of people through various avenues including online data breaches, stolen purses, and other means to stealing information. The Sheriff’s office says the man would then use their information to make a new ID with a picture of the new person, so when swiped or added to a system, the information would appear legit.
In this case, detectives say the people have been using the fake IDs to buy and rent cars, locally and beyond state lines.
They arrested 45-year-old Hoover Alford. He lived at the home and is believed to be the ring leader of the operation.
Another man was at the home at the time authorities arrived and was also arrested. The Sheriff’s Office identified him as 30-year-old Jose Martinez of Fresno. He is facing felonies of forgery and impersonation to get money. He also faces a misdemeanor for possessing a meth pipe and had an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court after making a written promise to do so. His total bail is $32,500.
This is not the first time they’ve been to this house
They say they conducted a search warrant in 2013 for a similar crime.
Officials think there are more victims out there and will try their best to get in touch with them in the coming weeks. The Sheriff’s Office will now work with the District Attorney’s office on this case.