Sanford police arrested a New York man suspected of buying Hannaford gift cards using stolen credit card numbers.

Police say Karl A. Jacques, 25, of New York City used fraudulent credit cards made with stolen numbers to buy $4,800 in gift cards from Hannaford stores in Sanford, Wells, North Berwick and York.

Jacques was arrested Tuesday night outside the Hannaford store in Waterboro and charged with felony theft. He was being held at York County Jail on $25,000 cash bail and was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.

Police were called to the Hannaford in Sanford on Tuesday to investigate a suspicious transaction. Hannaford’s loss-prevention office reported to police that high-value gift cards were being purchased, which they believed was “indicative of a fraudulent credit card scam that local retailers all across southern Maine have recently fallen victim to,” Detective Sgt. Matthew Jones said.

Jones said the scam begins with credit card numbers being illegally obtained, usually when skimmers are placed on ATMs. Those skimmed credit card numbers are then sold online.

Fake credit cards are manufactured using the stolen account numbers and are typically used until the credit limit is reached or the bank shuts off the card.

“Purchasing high-value gift cards is a common tactic used by the perpetrators of this scheme because gift cards can be used like cash and are not easily traceable,” Jones said in a statement.

Police said Jacques purchased gift cards at the Sanford Hannaford, and then went directly to the Hannaford store in Waterboro, where an employee refused a similar sale.

Police seized about40 credit cards and $4,800 in gift cards.

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