Man takes action after ID stolen while buying phone at AT+T store

Thanks to investigative work by a cell phone company, a suspect was arrested

By Andy Cerota - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - A Kingwood man looking to buy a couple of new cell phones took action after his identity was stolen.

A loyal AT+T customer, Larry Bates was eager to take advantage of a cell phone upgrade the company was offering him. So he paid a visit to his neighborhood store in Kingwood.

"They just ask you the normal information. What's your address? Then you have to given them the last four numbers of your social," Bates said.

A couple of days later, an AT+T representative called Bates with some puzzling news -- that someone was trying to order two iPhone 5's on his account with someone else's credit card.

"The information that I had given the clerk at the AT+T store, these people had the exact information that I had given them two days before," Bates said.

He says he was told the person trying to order the phones told AT+T not to ship the phones to his home address, but to a unit at an apartment complex in north Harris County near Humble. Bates alerted the authorities and the property manager.

"The packages were there and there were people trying to pick them up," said Bates.

Police arrested Evette Martinez who was at the apartment where the phones were being delivered.

"It's just something stupid that I did, actually. It's something that I did for a friend," said Martinez.

She says she regrets what she did. Bates believes things might have turned out differently had the AT+T representative decided not to play detective.

"It's scary. It's scary that people can get that kind of information," Bates said.

Martinez, 32, pleaded guilty to fraudulent use of identifying information.

Police are still looking for the person who called AT+T and ordered the iPhones.

The company tells Local 2 News, "As this matter is being investigated by the local authorities, we are referring all media inquiries to them. AT+T is cooperating fully with their investigation."

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