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Lifestyle & Budget

Tales of Credit Card Crooks' Quirky Charges

Credit Cards, Mastercard, Amex

Most scammers follow a similar pattern after they steal a credit card, experts say: They buy a bunch of big-ticket items in a hurry, and then ditch the card fairly quickly. But some crooks are more quirky, making unusual purchases that leave the rest of us to wonder what they were thinking.

Case in point: a thief in Boca Raton, Fla., who recently racked up $717 over two months using a stolen Discover card at just one place, a local Burger King restaurant. The suspect averaged $14 a day in burgers and chicken on the card, according to the police report, sometimes using it as many as five times a day. At first, the victim thought her son was using her card. But when he said he hadn't been to any Burger Kings, she realized her card was missing and reported it stolen. Police are still searching for the culprit.

Low-level thieves may use stolen credit cards on trivial things such as pizza or burgers so they can justify their crimes as not really serious, said Heith Copes, an associate professor in the justice department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who interviews convicted thieves. Others are in such a rush to spend the cash -- or want something so desperately -- that they don't think through the likely consequences. went digging to find other recent examples of unconventional credit card thieves who made eyebrow-raising or unusual purchases. Here are some of our favorites:

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