Police: Restaurant manager stole IDs to pay for Disney trips - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Police: Restaurant manager stole IDs to pay for Disney trips

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LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

The manager of a north suburban restaurant stole the identities of customers to pay for his fixation with Walt Disney World, taking 15 trips to theme park resorts in a five-month period under false names.

Alexander Pera, 26, of Chicago was arrested July 2 and charged with aggravated identity theft, identity theft and money laundering, according to Lincolnshire police.

During his time as manager of Eddie Merlot's Restaurant in Lincolnshire, police say Pera stole the identities of at least 50 people, both customers and former employees, for a total of more than $50,000.

Much of the money was spent on 15 different Walt Disney World Resort stays in five months, and two cruises aboard Disney Cruise Line this past spring, a statement from police said. Pera facilitated the crimes by providing fraudulent information to the Disney Company and the airlines when making travel plans.

Police said his reservations would be made using false names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses, and they were paid for with fraudulently obtained gift and pre-paid credit cards, purchases with stolen credit card numbers and cash.

Pera, of the 3800 block of North Ottawa Avenue, was arrested on his way to work and police found fake IDs, gift cards and a loaded handgun in his possession, a statement from police said.

In bond court on July 3, Judge Raymond Collins ordered Pera held in the Lake County Jail on a $500,000 bond.

The arrest was the culmination of a joint investigation started in late May by the Orange County (Fla.) Sheriffs office, Lincolnshire police and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, police said.

Eddie Merlot's is cooperating with the investigation as police seek other victims. Anyone who dined at the restaurant and later had their credit card compromised or was the victim of ID theft should call police at (847) 913-2349.

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