An admitted identity thief, apparently expert at stealing credit card account information over open wi-fi networks, was arrested last week after skipping out on a $2,134 bill at Montage Laguna Beach, police said.
Police tracked Harold Eric Larson, 37, to his hometown of Orange and arrested him on Thursday, Dec. 27, on several theft related charges, Capt. Jason Kravetz said in a statement. He is accused of using stolen credit card numbers to rent hotel rooms to for himself and friends in Laguna Beach, Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, Kravetz said.
In the days before Christmas, Larson allegedly rented a room at the Montage by using a stolen credit card. The fraud went undiscovered for two days while Larson accrued a $2,134 tab, but he disappeared from the resort prior to the arrival of police, Kravetz.
Coincidentally, on Dec. 26 police received a complaint about guests using drugs in a room at Laguna Cliffs Inn and arrested Edward Richard York, 40, of Tustin, allegedly for possessing methamphetamine and marijuana, Sgt. Louise Callus said. Officers learned the room was rented with a stolen credit card number provided by Larson, said Kravetz.
Larson allegedly uses a laptop to collect credit card information from people making purchases or checking their accounts, Kravetz said.
Larson was previously arrested by Laguna police last April on 23 felony counts of fraud and theft after he was caught using stolen credit card information to rent hotel rooms. He pled guilty to the charges and was sentenced to three years probation, one year in jail and restitution.
In the most recent incident, he was charged with burglary, grand theft, misrepresentation of a credit card holder, possession of a controlled substance, identity theft with a prior conviction and violation of probation.
Photo courtesy Laguna Beach PD.