- Associated Press - Thursday, December 24, 2015

HASTINGS, Minn. (AP) - Five people have been charged in Dakota County in a suspected identity theft ring that authorities believe impacted more than 150 victims.

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom says the suspects made initial court appearances Thursday where substantial bail amounts were set. The five men from Las Vegas were arrested after trying to use stolen credit card information to buy thousands of dollars in gift cards from area stores.

Backstrom says one man told authorities the group flew to Minnesota recently. Backstrom’s office has charged 14 cases like it in 2015 and he suspects it’s part of a broader ring. The people use cloned credit cards containing stolen numbers but are in their own name. When arrested, the men had $21,000 in gift cards.

The victims are from Minnesota and beyond.

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