5 Jailed After Drug Bust Uncovered Identity Theft Ring

Five people are behind bars tonight after a drug bust uncovered a large-scale identity theft ring in Stillwater.

Tuesday, February 13th 2024, 6:30 pm

By: News 9, Cameron Joiner


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Five people are behind bars tonight after a drug bust uncovered a large-scale identity theft ring in Stillwater.

Stillwater Police said it all started on January 31 when officers were called to a local hotel about a group refusing to leave. "There was also possible illegal drug activity going on," Lt. TJ Low with Stillwater Police Department said.

Lt. Low explained officers found a group of five people lingering by a car in the parking lot of Home 2 Suites with drugs in plain sight, giving officers the right to search the vehicle. "Officers discovered trafficking fentanyl," Low said.

While searching the car, more evidence was uncovered. "They located notebooks that had personal information in them," Low said. "Documents for bank loans, credit card statements, checks, things like that."

Police arrested Jason Beeman, Lauren Hayes, Stephen Kiker, Trishann Schmitt, and Matthew Wilson at the hotel. They are all facing identity theft and drug charges.

Low says the group's fraudulent activities may have been a ploy to fuel their drug habits. "It's hard to say but I believe that was probably what they were up to," Low said. "What they try to do is open new accounts or use the existing accounts to take money out of," legal expert Ed Blau said. 

He gave a few tips on things you can do to help protect yourself. "Keep a close eye on their credit card transactions and debit card transactions to make sure there's nothing unusual,” Blau said. "Use a credit monitoring service or something of that nature just in case someone were to get a hold of their information."

As for the victims in this case, Low says there will likely be more as the investigation continues to unfold. "We're going to contact every individual that was in that book and make them aware," he said.

If you think you're a victim of identity theft, Blau says your best bet is to cancel your open lines of credit and contact your bank, as well as local law enforcement.

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