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Saturday, January 05, 2019 1:00 am

Ex-Kohl's worker accused of credit card theft

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

A Fort Wayne woman was charged with felony fraud and theft after she allegedly stole customers' credit card numbers at a local Kohl's store and passed them off to another person, who used the information to buy gift cards.

Niakia L. Baker, 25, was a cashier at the store, and she stole credit card numbers at least four times in December, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Thursday. 

Investigators said the store's internal system flagged several transactions, and customers began calling saying they hadn't approved certain charges. 

The store's loss prevention officer reviewed surveillance video, which showed customers moving through Baker's line, according to the affidavit. 

“Shortly after, she would be seen texting on her phone,” and not long after that, an unknown man would come into the store and to Baker's register, the affidavit said. 

The unidentified man bought gift cards with the credit card numbers taken from customers who had visited Baker's line, police said. 

“Baker had apparently recorded the numbers,” according to the affidavit.

It is not clear how much was paid for using customers' information, but the transactions occurred Dec. 18, 21, 24 and 27, court documents said.

Baker allegedly used some of the gift cards and earned nearly $1,100 through a Kohl's rewards program by making purchases, court records said. 

She admitted taking customers' credit card numbers but “advised that she did not admit to anything in the store interview and it was her word against theirs,” the affidavit states. 

“I advised her that there was probably video,” Fort Wayne police Officer David Ladig wrote in the document. “Baker advised that she and her lawyer would have to see it.”

Baker's first court hearing is Tuesday.

mleblanc@jg.net