Officer Jeff Pickens, the officer who was dispatched to the Walgreens on West Main, was there when the two suspects drove up. Jones said Pickens interviewed the two men and obtained permission to search their vehicle and reportedly found “15 to 20 gift cards along with 20 to 21 credit cards.”
The two suspects have been identified as Gevork Akopyan, 34, and Arsen Sogomonyan, 33. Jones noted both of them said they were from Glendale, Calif., but information from the Wilson County Jail regarding Sogomonyan listed his address as an apartment on Western Avenue in Lebanon.
The two men were suspects in the use of a fraudulent credit card at Walmart in Lebanon about one month ago. A Lebanon Police official identified them from a surveillance video taken at Walmart of the transaction.
The two were taken into custody at the Walgreens and the Secret Service was contacted.
Jones said Secret Service agents ran all the credit cards, and they and local investigators determined that the magnetic strips found on the back of the credit cards had been altered with stolen information.
Sogomonyan has been charged with seven counts of fraudulent use of a credit card and identity theft, and Akopyan faces 45 counts of the same including criminal simulation.
Sogomonyan, whose bond was set at $16,000, Jones said, was being held in the county jail under an Immediate Deportation Order from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, or ICE. Akopyan’s bond was set at $92,000.
“This case has far-reaching ties,” Bowen said, adding, “The investigation is continuing.”
He noted the credit card operation was “very elaborate. They’re professionals. This was well thought-out and well-planned. I can’t say enough about the job our patrol officers and detectives did. It is going to solve several cases for us.”
Bowen reiterated that LPD was working with other agencies as the investigation continues.
“These are difficult cases to work on,” he said, due to the type of crimes involved. The chief added, “There’s no telling how many crimes were prevented” by the arrests of the two suspects.
Editor Jennifer Horton may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.