The investigation of possible Identity Theft has resulted in the arrest of a Jasper couple on various charges including Identity Deception, Counterfeiting, Forgery, Check Fraud, Burglary, Theft and Defrauding a Financial Institution
Early last month, the Jasper Police Department began receiving several reports from citizens of fraudulent activity on bank accounts.
Police say citizens reported that outgoing mail containing bill payments in the form of checks may have also been stolen. One victim reported that their checking account had numerous fraudulent transactions from local businesses.
Jasper police were able to retrieve numerous surveillance videos from these businesses showing a female suspect making the transactions. Police put out media releases and emails to other local agencies requesting to identify the female.
Jasper police learned from the Paoli Police Department of the name of 37-year old Lindsey Hammer. Police say at about the same time a storage unit facility called JPD reporting suspicious activity on the property.
They say a large van was caught on surveillance cameras at that time and Jasper Police determined that Lindsey and 42-year old Michael Hammer who both lived at the same Jasper address were associated with it.
In an attempt to contact Ms. Hammer, the Jasper City Utilities Office advised that Bridget Pedersen was the name with the account for that address.
Jasper police contacted Pedersen by phone and she told police that she had been a victim of Identity Deception and Fraud and does not live in Jasper. Police made several attempts to contact someone at the residence however no one was located.
On February 18th, Jasper Police Located Michael Hammer at the residence and detained him for questioning. After questioning, police requested a search warrant based on the stolen identity used to get utilities from the city.
The search warrant was granted and executed.
During the search, Jasper Police found a room inside the residence that was believed to be dedicated to making false identifications and counterfeit checks.
Also located in the search were numerous files containing personal documents of potential identity deception and fraud victims. It was also believed that the house contained numerous items thought to have been stolen from storage units in the area.
Multiple trailer loads of potentially stolen property were seized from the residence and are secured by Jasper police.
During the inventory of the items seized police identified hundreds of possible victims from the local area and also spanning from numerous other states. The amount of loss is believed to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Police are still trying to make contact with numerous victims in the local area. They ask that if you have noticed fraudulent activity on banking statements or mailed payments that did not reach their proper destination to contact the Jasper Police Department to make an initial report with dispatch.
JPD is also asking anyone with a storage unit in the local area to check to make sure their items are secure.
Michael Hammer was ultimately arrested and initially charged with Identity Deception and Theft with numerous other charges to follow once all victims and inventory are accounted for.
He was booked into the Dubois County Security Center.
Lindsey Hammer was not initially located and a warrant for her arrest was applied for and granted.
In an attempt to locate Ms. Hammer, Jasper Police assisted Orange County Deputies and Orange County Probation with a search of a relative’s property which Ms. Hammer had listed with her probation officer.
During a consented search of the property a $20,000 Honda Side by Side ATV, that was reported as stolen from Charleston South Carolina, was located. The large van involved in the suspicious storage unit activity was also located along with several items believed to be stolen.
It was later found that the large van had a stolen license plate on it. The ATV, Van and other items were seized from the property and secured by Jasper Police.
This past Wednesday, Lindsey Hammer was located by Law Enforcement in South Carolina.
She is facing numerous local charges there before she can be extradited to Indiana to face her charges here.
The U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Postal Inspectors have been made aware of this investigation and are determining whether Federal Charges can be sought against the Hammers.
The Jasper Police Department would like to show their gratitude to the Deputies of the Dubois County Sheriffs Department, Troopers and Detectives with the Indiana State Police, the Dubois County Prosecutor’s Office, Orange County Detectives and Probation, Summerville S.C. Police Detective, the Paoli Police Department, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Postal Service, numerous local businesses, and the public for all the help throughout this investigation.