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Woman accused of using phony IDs to steal electronics

March 24, 2009

A 21-year-old California woman has been charged with felony theft after she was arrested at the Best Buy store in Wauwatosa.

Brittany Bergman had the FBI looking for her due to numerous crimes committed under several aliases in Illinois, Indiana and Chicago.

The search ended at 2:14 p.m. Thursday when she tried to purchase a $2,000 laptop computer and $500 gift card at Best Buy, 2421 N. Mayfair Road, with a recently opened line of credit.

According to a Wauwatosa Police Department report:

The cashier grew suspicious after Bergman's purchase was declined because she had gone over her credit limit. Instead of forgoing the purchase, Bergman had the cashier try about five more times, each time decreasing the amount of the gift card and finally dropping the computer from the transaction.

Officers met her on the way out of the store, where she provided them with a fake Illinois driver's license that listed Bergman as a 38-year-old Chicago resident and a Social Security card that appeared to be homemade. As she spoke with officers, Bergman was visibly shaking. A body search resulted in 30, $20 bills in her bra, which likely came from selling stolen merchandise.

A check with other Best Buy stores showed Bergman had been on a spending spree. She opened a line of credit using the fraudulent identification at a Kenosha Best Buy on Wednesday, and purchased $4,480 in computer and electronics items. At 1:18 p.m. Thursday, she bought another $1,300 in items from the Grafton Best Buy. She also opened a credit account at the Grafton Costco, where she bought a $1,600 television.

Bergman told police she was a high school dropout who was working in the pornography industry and committing crimes to get by. She had been visiting friends in Chicago when two men in a bar asked her if she wanted to make some money using credit cards. They directed her to get passport-style photos, which they put on fake IDs. Then they drover her to Kenosha, where they told her to open the largest line of credit the store would allow.

In return for the fraudulent transactions, she received half the proceeds from selling the merchandise.

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