Two Glendale men were arrested on suspicion of identity theft on Tuesday after being caught with more than 100 allegedly fraudulent credit cards in their possession, police said.
Artur Ghazaryan, 28, and Havhannes Ghazaryan, 26, who are not related, were arrested shortly after 7 p.m. in a parking lot at 1416 E. Colorado St. after a police officer searched vehicles tied to them — a black SUV and a white van — and found a total of 138 cards, said Glendale Police spokeswoman Tahnee Lightfoot.
Officers were drawn to the suspects as they were leaning into the passenger and driver’s side of the van, Lightfoot said.
A search of a black SUV — tied to Artur Ghazaryan, but not registered to him — turned up numerous credit cards, four iPhones and other pieces of evidence linked to identity theft and fraud, she said.
FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this story said the black SUV was driven by Artur Ghazaryan. The vehicle was "associated with" him, but it is not known whether he was driving it.
The white van, which was tied to Havhannes Ghazaryan but did not belong to him, was also searched after officers detected a pungent odor of fuel emanating from the vehicle, Lightfoot said.
A 300-gallon metal tank was found inside and it was about a quarter full with gasoline, she said.
Lightfoot said it’s unclear why the suspects were transporting gasoline and the possibility that the credit cards were being used to purchase the fuel is under investigation.
She added that moving large quantities of gasoline in vehicles can pose health and safety risks and is illegal, so the tank in the van is also under investigation.
Credit cards were also found in the van, Lightfoot said.
A check of several of the cards revealed all of them were reencoded with another person’s credit card information, Lightfoot said.
Both the SUV and van were impounded following the arrests of Artur Ghazaryan and Havhannes Ghazaryan.
Further investigation by detectives revealed Artur Ghazaryan faces a pending federal case with the U.S. Secret Service on similar charges, Lightfoot said.
Both men were being held in lieu of $1-million bail.