Cell phone scam falls apart in Eagle electronics store
EAGLE — Eagle police weren’t certain where Al Paolo Duzyurt Lucci was from or where he was headed, but he had an armload of cell phones he hadn’t paid for.
The investigation is continuing, but police learned that Lucci, 41, acquired cell phones in Shawnee, Kansas, Denver, Dillon and Eagle.
Lucci used a Wells Fargo debit card to pay the sales taxes on his purchases, but had not paid for phones worth more than $4,000, police said.
He’s facing four felony charges and is being held in the Eagle County jail on $50,000 cash bond. He made his first court appearance recently.
The initial inquiry led officers to believe that there was a lot more to this case and that the alleged fraud may not be an isolated incident, said Eagle Police Chief Joe Staufer. Lucci is allegedly involved in a larger scale theft and fraud operation.
According to police, Lucci claimed to be affiliated with two businesses — one in California and another in Oklahoma — but neither had ever heard of him and had not authorized anyone to activate phone lines on their behalf.
What police say happened
Eagle Police were called to the AT&T store in Eagle when an employee called to report a possible fraud in progress.
Police arrived at the store to find Lucci arguing with a female employee, “towering over her” in what appeared to be an attempt at intimidation, the arrest report said.
Police strode into the store, past one unattended vehicle left running outside.
Later, police determined that the vehicle was Lucci’s, that it was a rental car out of North Carolina, and that the rental agreement had expired.
It didn’t take police long to determine that Lucci was trying to buy four phones and a tablet that morning from the store in Eagle. He had also purchased two phones from the same store the night before.
Lucci had tried to make those purchases on a new account he had set up through a Santa Barbara, California, business. However, he had set up that account while he was traveling through Shawnee, Kansas.
The store employees told police they did a little research and learned that Lucci had used a personal email account, and not the name associated with the business he listed. The phone number Lucci had provided wasn’t associated with the business either, the report said.
With a little more digging, the store employees learned that employees with three other stores had activated phones for Lucci in the last seven days, but only one phone had been used.
The Eagle AT&T store employees called Integrated Medical, the business Lucci claimed to be associated with. They learned people at the business had never heard of Lucci and that any activity associated with the California business was fraudulent.
When he was confronted, Lucci told the AT&T employee he had activated hundreds of lines with AT&T and threatened to cancel them all. He also said he was the CEO of a the California company. He also claimed to own a small company in New Mexico that makes hoses and tubes for oxygen tanks.
Lucci had set up accounts in Denver several days before, and an AT&T employee there had notified the company’s internal fraud department.
Lucci told police he was from California. However, he was driving a North Carolina rental car and produced a New Mexico driver’s license.
While he was talking with Eagle Police, he dropped a business card from a Verizon store in Dillon. Lucci had been in there the day before to purchase four cell phones, using a business name from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. When Eagle Police called that Oklahoma business, they had never heard of Lucci either.
Lucci used a Wells Fargo debit card to pay around $4,000 for all the phones, not including the phones he acquired in Kansas and Denver, police said.
Police said Lucci paid the sales taxes for the purchases, but not the phones themselves, and that the phones would be considered stolen.
Eagle Police also learned that Lucci’s birthday does not match the one on his driver’s license, that his name is spelled several different ways on different documents and that his criminal record goes back to 2001.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@ vaildaily.com.