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Mass. woman faces charges for attempted fake-ID shopping spree

Union Leader Correspondent

February 18. 2013 9:37PM

BRENTWOOD - A Massachusetts woman arrested in October for trying to tap into the credit of a West Virginia woman during a town-wide shopping spree in Salem department stores allegedly tried the same ruse by impersonating four other women, according to indictments.

Deborah Couture, 57, is facing new charges from using the women's personal information during shopping trips between Oct. 10 and 23 at stores such as T.J. Maxx and J.C. Penney, according to indictments.

She was indicted on three counts of theft by deception and seven counts of identity fraud for allegedly buying hundreds of dollars of merchandise.

Loss prevention workers at a Kohl's store became suspicious of Couture Oct. 17 after she tried to buy numerous items at the store using a charge card belonging to a West Virginia woman, according to police.

A video surveillance camera in the store parking lot captured the license plate number to a 2001 Daewoo Leganz she drove off in, according to police.

The car belonged to the son of Couture's roommate, police said. The roommate promptly identified Couture as the driver when a detective met with her to inquire about her car, Detective Michael White said in a sworn affidavit.

Couture had tried to open a Kohl's credit account at the Route 28 store on Sept. 12 and presented a West Virginia ID.

A store worker told Couture that she already had a credit account, so Couture used it to purchase $288 in merchandise, according to White's affidavit.

Couture then left the store and returned a short time later, attempting to purchase another $1,500 in merchandise, but that transaction was denied by loss prevention workers, police said.

Two days later, police say Couture went to a Lowe's store in Salem with her codefendant, Leah Perusse, who is charged with criminal liability for conduct of another.

Couture and Perusse filled two shopping carts full of merchandise that totaled more than $1,000, but were denied when they tried to open a credit account using the West Virginia ID, police said.

Perusse was not indicted by the grand jury, but was initially charged with criminal liability for conduct of another.

Couture is free on $30,000 bail. She will be arraigned later this month in Rockingham County Superior Court.

Crime, law and justice Salem

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