Jeremiah Gabriel Baldis
Photo: GREENE COUNTY JAIL
Photo: GREENE COUNTY JAIL

Update: 2 arrested in ‘ongoing’ area theft/fraud ring

A second person has been arrested as part of an investigation into an out-of-state theft and fraud ring operating in communities in Greene and Montgomery counties and “the criminal activity is ongoing,” according to Suzanne Schmidt, the county’s first assistant prosecutor.

Tanya Mercer, 40, is being held in the Greene County Jail on suspicion of identity fraud, theft from a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property and forgery.

Tanya Mercer

Mercer, of Chicago, was arrested by Fairborn police and is the second person facing charges in connection to open cases being investigated in Fairborn, Beavercreek and Kettering, Schmidt said.

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Mercer’s charges relate to “thefts from banks using stolen identification of victims from the area to complete cash withdrawal slips and obtain cash,” Schmidt said.

The other person arrested the same day, Jeremiah Baldis, is accused of charging thousands of dollars on a credit card that was in a purse stolen from a vehicle at the Primrose Academy in Beavercreek.

The victim said she had concerns over the security at the daycare facility.

Colleen Clemens, Primrose School of Beavercreek franchise owner, issued a statement today.

“It is unfortunate when incidents like this occur in our community. The safety and security of our staff and the children and families in our schools is our top priority. We take situations like this seriously, alert our families as necessary and have many policies and procedures in place to ensure safety at all times,” Clemens statement reads.

Mercer’s case has been presented to a grand jury. She is being held on $100,000 bond.

EARLIER

A Florida man is being held in the Greene County Jail as a suspect in what authorities are calling an out-of-state theft and fraud ring operating in the Beavercreek, Fairborn and Xenia communities.

The Dayton Daily News first reported that Greene County Prosecutor Stephen Haller issued a warning about an out-of-state theft and identity fraud ring operating in the area.

Police records indicate one person was arrested, another may have eluded capture, and the pair was able to use credit cards within minutes of them being stolen.

Beavercreek police records show on Aug. 21 the suspect, Jeremiah Gabriel Baldis, 19, of Fort Lauderdale, stole a purse from the vehicle of a mother who was dropping off her child at Primrose Academy on North Fairfield Road.

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Police said the suspect appeared to be working with another person who was in a getaway vehicle, and he was able to charge thousands of dollars on a stolen credit card within minutes of taking it from the daycare facility parking lot.

Police said the victim noticed something was wrong when she attempted to start her vehicle and realized her purse, which contained the keyfob for her vehicle, was missing.

The victim told this news organization one of her credit cards was used at the Beavercreek Kroger six minutes after she had clocked in her child at the daycare.

When she was on the phone with the bank to cancel her cards, the bank employee asked if she had just made a purchase five minutes ago at the Kroger store, which she had not. The thief charged more than $2,000 from her accounts, according to the victim, who asked that her name not be published.

The victim said she is concerned about security at the Primrose Academy parking lot.

“That was not the first incident that happened there. It happened two or three times previously,” she said. “We’re talking about a childcare facility.”

A message seeking comment from the Primrose Academy franchise owner was not returned. 

According to the police report, the responding officer saw the pending call from the daycare facility “where another purse was stolen from a vehicle.”

“Based on what occurred last time, I immediately responded to the Kroger on Dayton-Xenia,” the officer reported.

The officer sat in the parking lot for about 20 minutes but did not observe anything suspicious. The suspect had already entered the store, purchased four gift cards for $500 each, then exited the store and is believed to have fled in a waiting vehicle, according to the report. 

“The suspects had to have taken the purse as soon as (the victim) walked into Primrose, and drove immediately over to Kroger to make the purchase,” the police report states. “The purchase was made and the suspects would have left prior to dispatch even getting the information entered and the call put out.”

Police said Baldis was arrested after he returned to the same Kroger and attempted to wire money via Western Union at the service desk.

Beavercreek police said Xenia officers also were investigating a theft incident at the YMCA involving two men who were seen in a black Hyundai Santa Fe, which had a license plate on it from a Jeep reported stolen out of Cincinnati.

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Court records show the case has been presented to a grand jury for a possible indictment.

Additional records from Fairborn and Xenia police were not immediately available.

Baldis is being held in the Greene County Jail on suspicion of identity fraud, a fourth-degree felony, as well as theft and receiving stolen property, both fifth-degree felonies, according to jail records. Bond has been set at $50,000.

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