Police: Professional scammers tripped up in Shrewsbury

Liz Evans Scolforo
  • Southern Regional Police Chief James Boddington said the men ran the scam in New York and New Jersey, too.
  • He called the Avilas "professionals" and praised police for their quick response, which led to arrests.

Two New York City men captured after allegedly using fraudulent credit cards to buy gift cards at a Shrewsbury convenience store last weekend were no amateurs, Southern Regional Police Chief James Boddington said.

Felipe Rodofo Avila

"These guys are professionals," he said. "This is their job, and they're good at it."

Authorities believe Felipe Arturo Avila, 54, and Felipe Rodofo Avila, 25, both of Brooklyn, have run the scam in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, according to the chief.

"And there could be more," Boddington said, adding that investigators "are still pulling this together. There's a lot of work to do on this yet."

He confirmed Southern Regional Detective William Shaffer and other investigating agencies are sharing information.

As of Friday, the state of New Jersey had filed an extradition detainer against the younger Avila, according to county records.

Felipe Arturo Avila

Boddington said scammers generally move around quickly to avoid capture.

"They hit-and-run, and they're gone," he said.

The arrests: Southern Regional's midnight-shift patrol officers were called to the Rutter's Farm Store on North Main Street in Shrewsbury on Sunday about the pair, police said.

By that time, the Avilas had left, but officers assumed they'd flee to the interstate and called state police for assistance, Boddington said.

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Police spotted the Avilas in a northbound vehicle on I-83 and pulled it over, at which point both men provided officers with fake identification, police allege.

"One of them had a fake driver's license with holograms that were as good as PennDOT's," Boddington said. "It was difficult to get positive identification on them because they had so many different IDs."

ID'd through prints: So officers took the Avilas to the Loganville state police barracks to fingerprint the men on a LiveScan fingerprinting machine, which immediately sends the prints to law-enforcement databases for quick identification.

And that's how police determined the men's names, according to the chief.

"Patrol did a great job," Boddington said.

It wasn't clear Friday how the Avilas are related.

They remain in York County Prison on $25,000 bail each, charged with identity theft, possessing instruments of crime, tampering with records or identification, tampering with public records, making unsworn falsifications to police and providing police with false identification.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.