Portland police arrest suspected ID thief hiding in attic - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland police arrest suspected ID thief hiding in attic

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A man under investigation for identity theft was found hiding in an attic crawl space, police say.

Thomas Berndt Jr. was arrested by Portland police on Wednesday after they executed a search warrant at a home in the 900 block of Northeast 117th Avenue.

Officer Barbara Glass, an identity theft investigator, says she became involved in the case after learning about a person who had their locker broken into on Jan. 20 while at a local gym.

Glass says the victim closed his account but reported several fraudulent purchases had been made at a Walgreens and electronics store.

Through the investigation, Glass says she named Berndt as her suspect using the stolen credit cards.

Police say Berndt is also likely responsible for breaking into lockers at three health clubs throughout Portland and Milwaukie.

Glass says the old Bally Total Fitness in downtown Portland and the location along Southeast Washington Street were both gyms where Berndt stole credit cards.

The third location was the Bally along Southeast International Way in Milwaukie, she says.

Glass says she has been able to identify at least four victims who reported having fraudulent purchases made to their accounts.

She says she expects the case to get much larger after they finish processing evidence.

Additionally, police arrested Ria Sisk, the suspect's wife, for hindering prosecution. Glass says Sisk refused to cooperate with investigators.

Staci Parr, a friend of Sisk, tells FOX 12 that the charges against the two are unfounded.

"My friend is innocent," Parr says. "Completely innocent."

Berndt declined to comment Thursday afternoon when contacted at the home by a reporter.

He was arraigned in Multnomah County Circuit Court on charges of identity theft, fraudulent use of a credit card and theft.

Calls to the corporate offices of Bally Total Fitness and LA Fitness were not returned.

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