WATERVILLE — A New York brother and sister who allegedly steal or buy people’s credit card information, make their own fake credit cards and use them to buy thousands of dollars worth of gift cards are in jail after police arrested the pair Wednesday outside Rite Aid on Main Street.

Nelcie Souffrant, 25, and Nickson Souffrant, 26, of 125 East Marshall St., Hempstead, N.Y., were found with 44 legitimate gift cards worth about $8,000 that police said they had bought with fraudulent credit cards apparently crafted with use of an embossing machine.

The pair was charged with theft by deception. Nelcie Souffrant also was charged with refusing to submit to arrest or detention after she fled from officers and tried to climb over a fence to escape, according to police Chief Joseph Massey.

U.S. Secret Service assisted with the case, which may involve thefts in the Bangor and Newport areas, Massey said.

Massey said Rite Aid employees called police around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday saying they were suspicious of a customer who was using credit cards to buy gift cards.

“They were trying to pay for the gift cards with a credit card, and when one credit card didn’t work, the lady tried another credit card and when that credit card didn’t work, she tried another one until finally the purchase was made,” Massey said.


The employees said the Rite Aid corporate office had sent out a notice to all Rite Aids in the state that such activity was happening and to be on the lookout for anyone buying numerous gift cards, he said.

Police officers Scott Dumas and Luis Rodriguez went to Rite Aid and met an employee in the parking lot who gave them a description of the woman with the credit cards, and just then, that woman tried to leave the store, according to Massey.

“They confronted her and asked to speak to her and she consented,” he said.

As the officers were asking her for identification, Sgt. Brian Gardiner drove into the parking lot and saw a man sitting in a vehicle with Massachusetts plates. At that point, the woman bolted, Massey said.

“She fled on foot and ran out of the Rite Aid parking lot, across Center Street into the parking lot of some law offices, and when she ran across the parking lot she threw her purse over the fence and tried to climb over the fence, but the officers were able to retrieve her purse and bring her back into the parking lot for further questioning.”

Gardiner asked the man in the car — who later was identified as Nickson Souffrant — what he was doing, and he said he was waiting for his sister, according to Massey.


When Waterville police dispatcher Carolyn Dodge ran the registration plate number of the car, she recognized that Bangor police had issued a notice at 5:30 p.m. for police departments in Maine to be on the lookout for that vehicle, as the occupants had tried to buy gift cards at Rite Aid stores using credit cards. Each time police were called to the scene, the suspects left before they arrived, Massey said. Newport police had issued a similar notice at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday because the same type of incident had also occurred in that town, according to Massey.

Waterville police found several credit cards in Nelcie Souffrant’s purse that bore her name. Police called Detective Duane Cloutier and the Souffrants were taken to the police station for questioning.

Cloutier found that the 44 gift cards with logos such as Visa and American Express had been purchased with varying amounts placed on them, such as $200, $300 and $500, Massey said.

“There was also a receipt for when she (Nelcie Souffrant) actually paid for two of those cards in the Rite Aid here,” he said. “Cloutier, having worked with the Secret Service before, called the Secret Service, and they were able to give him a lot of information over the phone about what to look for on credit cards to see if they are fraudulent.”

Cloutier contacted the banks issuing the credit cards, and some said a particular credit card was legitimate, but the embossed name on the card was not.

“We had enough information to charge both of these individuals (Souffrants) with class C felony theft by deception,” he said, adding that neither Souffrant was forthcoming with information.


“They were not cooperative. Bail was set at $50,000 cash for each of them and an additional $1,000 cash for her because she refused to submit. Neither was able to make bail and they are being held at Kennebec County Jail, and they are scheduled to appear in Kennebec County Superior Court June 8.”

The Secret Service is charged with enforcement of laws protecting the country’s monetary system, a responsibility it held even before being charged with its better-known responsibility of protecting the President.

Massey said the Secret Service agents looked at the credit cards and explained how they are made on an embossing machine that stamps information onto them. Credit card account information that is stolen on the Internet or purchased from someone else who has stolen it is transferred onto the magnetic strip on the card, and the person stealing the information may stamp his or her own name on it, he said.

The problem the thieves run into, however, is that they do not know the credit limit on certain credit card accounts, so they may try to use a credit card and it is rejected. When that happens, they keep trying other fake cards until they use one that works.

Massey said police suspect the Souffrants were the ones involved in the Bangor and Newport incidents. He said similar incidents have occurred recently around the state, and police are trying to determine if the Souffrants were involved or if it is a “group of people doing this.”

He said that on Sept. 3, a woman called Waterville police from Minnesota to say her Visa card had been used at Home Depot and Staples in Waterville and $1,500 in purchases had been made. Police checked with Home Depot and no one remembered the case, but a Staples employee did, and her description of the couple involved matched that of the Souffrants, Massey said.


He said Nickson Souffrant has no record, but Nelcie has four convictions from 2009 to 2012 for disorderly conduct in New York. She claims to be a New York actress on an internet website and in listings on the Internet Movie Database.

Meanwhile, Massey has some advice for anyone whose credit card data is breached.

“I think as soon as people realize somebody is using their credit card, they should call police and their banking institution,” he said.

A call placed after 5 p.m. Thursday to the Secret Service office in Portland was not returned. A recording at the office said the office closes at 5 p.m.

Amy Calder — 861-9247


Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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