June 19. 2013 8:40PM

Russian national indicted over phony debit, credit cards

Union Leader Correspondent

BRENTWOOD — A Russian national suspected of using the mailboxes of vacant summer homes in New Hampshire and Massachusetts to collect fraudulently optained debit and credit cards has been indicted for attempted theft.Alekski Shushliannikov was indicted on a single count of attempted theft by unauthorized taking in connection with his Feb. 21 arrest by Hampton police.

The attempted theft charge is punishable by up to 7 ½ to 15 years in state prison, and could lead to him being deported.Investigators believe Shushliannikov, 21, of Boston is part of a widespread ring operating in New Hampshire and the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts.

Hampton police began investigating the case on Feb. 11 when a homeowner on Playhouse Circle complained that a man was stealing his mail.Police spotted Shushliannikov moments later. Shushliannikov claimed that he was lost and looking for an address on the mailbox, police said.

Officers grew suspicious of that story once they spotted the debit and credit cards along with a GPS device in his vehicle.The mail that Shushliannikov allegedly took was addressed to the Hampton home, but none of it was in the homeowner’s name, police said.

Envelopes that contained 17 debit and credit cards had a variety of other names, according to police.Shushliannikov later told police and a U.S. Postal Service inspector that he was part of a larger operation that focused on identity theft and mail theft in the region.

Hampton detectives also learned that U.S. Postal inspection agents have been investigating similar cases in the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts since January.A search warrant was executed on Feb. 14 at Shushliannikov’s apartment in Boston, where investigators seized hundreds of pre-paid debit and credit cards along with cash and other stolen mail, police said.Police estimate that $100,000 in cash and credit was found during the search.

Shushliannikov is being held at the Rockingham County jail.