Duo alleged responsible for fraud, storage unit thefts

From Local Sources

Michael Hammer
Lindsey Hammer

JASPER — Police are looking for additional victims of storage-unit theft and identity deception and telling federal authorities about the case being built against a Jasper couple.

The Jasper Police Department began an investigation early this month after receiving several reports of fraudulent bank account activity. Citizens were reporting that outgoing mail containing bill payments in the form of checks may have also been stolen, police say.

One victim reported a checking account having numerous fraudulent transactions from local businesses. Jasper police were able to retrieve numerous surveillance videos from these businesses showing a female suspect making the transactions.

Investigators put out media releases and emails to other local agencies requesting to identify the woman. The Paoli Police Department contacted Jasper counterparts and gave a name: 37-year-old Lindsey K. Hammer.

At about the same time, a self-storage facility called Jasper police reporting suspicious activity on the property. A large van was caught on surveillance cameras at that time and investigators determined Lindsey and Michael W. Hammer, 42, with an address of 292 W. 44th St., Jasper, were associated with it.

In an attempt to contact Lindsey Hammer, the Jasper City Utilities Office advised that another woman’s name was the name with the account for that address. Police contacted that woman by phone and she advised that she has been a victim of identity deception and fraud and does not live in Jasper. Jasper police made several attempts to contact someone at the residence; however, no one was located.

On Feb. 18, Jasper police located Michael Hammer at the residence and detained him for questioning. After questioning, police requested a search warrant based on an allegation that a stolen identity was used to get utilities from the city. The search warrant was granted and executed.

During the search, police said, officers located a room inside the residence that was believed to be dedicated to making false identifications and counterfeit checks. Also located in the search were numerous files containing personal documents of potential identity deception and fraud victims. It was also believed that the house contained numerous items thought to have been stolen from storage units in the area.

Multiple trailer loads of potential stolen property were seized from the residence and were secured by Jasper police. During the inventory of the items seized, Jasper police identified hundreds of possible victims from the local area and also spanning numerous other states. The amount of loss is believed to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to authorities.

Jasper police are still trying to make contact with numerous victims in the local area. The police department asks that if you have noticed fraudulent activity on banking statements or mailed payments that did not reach their proper destination to contact Jasper police at 812-482-2255 to make an initial report with dispatch.

Jasper police are also asking anyone with a storage unit in the local area to check to make sure their items are secure.

Michael Hammer was ultimately arrested and initially charged with Level 6 felony identity deception and misdemeanor theft. Police say numerous other charges will follow once an inventory is complete and all victims identified. Michael Hammer is lodged in the Dubois County Security Center.

Lindsey Hammer was not initially located and a warrant for her arrest was applied for and granted. In attempt to locate her, Jasper police assisted Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputies and Orange County Probation with a search of a relative’s property which Lindsey Hammer had listed with her probation officer.

During a consented search of the property, police said, a $20,000 Honda side-by-side, all-terrain vehicle that was reported as stolen from Charleston, South Carolina, was located. The large van involved in the suspicious storage unit activity was also located along with several items believed to be stolen, police said.

It was determined the large van had a stolen license plate on it. The ATV, van and other items were seized from the property and secured by Jasper police.

On Wednesday, Lindsey Hammer was located by law enforcement in South Carolina. She is facing numerous local charges there before being extradited to Indiana to face her charges here, according to Jasper police.

The U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Postal Inspectors have been made aware of this investigation and are determining whether federal charges can be sought, according to local law enforcement.

Jasper police said the department wants to thank to the deputies of the Dubois County Sheriffs Department, troopers and detectives with the Indiana State Police, the Dubois County Prosecutor’s Office, Orange County detectives and probation staff, Summerville South Carolina police, Paoli Police Department, the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal Service, numerous local businesses and the public for all the help throughout this investigation.

Police say the Hammers will face charges of identity deception, counterfeiting, forgery, check fraud, theft and defrauding a financial institution.

 




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