- Chelsea Todaro Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
A Broward County man caught with other people’s credit cards, checks and bank receipts in his BMW told Boca Raton police last week that he is part of a “large” group that targets homes in upper-income neighborhoods for thefts, according to a city police report.
Michael Merisier, 32, told police following his arrest Thursday that he is a “middle man” in the operation. He would pick up residents’ mail in places that seem to be “easily accessible,” the report said. People who are part of the “group” give Merisier credit cards to buy gift cards, and he then cashes out those gift cards through money orders.
Merisier, whose occupation is listed on the police report as “poker player,” is facing fraud and larceny charges and was released from the Palm Beach County Jail on Friday on $9,000 bond.
In their report, city police said they were patrolling the Boca Madera neighborhood, off St. Andrew’s Boulevard between Glades and Yamato roads, because homes in the area are “some of those most popular targets for residential burglars.”
Many communities in the area are not gated and their residents work during the day, the report said. Burglars drive high-end vehicles to avoid detection.
Officers said they watched Merisier linger in the neighborhood, stopping in front of houses and talking on his cellphone. They tried to pull his car over after he ran a stop sign. Merisier stopped near Town Center of Boca Raton, and officers said they found “an uncommonly large amount” of mail in his car that was not addressed to him, according to the arrest report.
After searching Merisier’s car, the officer found letters, IRS documents, credit cards, checks, multiple laptops and cellphones and a notebook that contained “step-by-step notes for locating addresses,” the report states. The notebook also had drawn diagrams with money amounts.
Merisier told police he would wait in his car for hours until the mail got delivered, and then took it to obtain residents’ personal information, the arrest report said. People who are part of the “group” give Merisier credit cards to buy gift cards, and he then cashes out those gift cards through money orders. He admitted to making around $6,000 in the past three months stealing mail.