APD to charge man for ID theft

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, January 16, 2013

At least two area businesses have made claims against an Andalusia man who was arrested for allegedly using false identities to steal an estimated $100,000 in Birmingham, police said Tuesday.

Sgt. Jason Curry of the Andalusia Police Department said Martin Bruce Harbison Jr., 47, is facing a first-degree theft of property charge in Jefferson County; however, once that case is dealt with, Harbison will face charges in Andalusia.

“In a joint investigation between the APD and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, several identity cases have been traced back to Covington County,” Curry said. “At the present, two local businesses have been discovered as Harbison’s targets.”

Curry said Harbison had attempted to steal the businesses’ identities by using their names to obtain business loans.

Curry said arrest warrants were obtained Jan. 10 in the cases; however, at present time, Harbison remains jailed in Jefferson County on other identity theft charges.

“But, once he’s released from the Jefferson County Jail, our warrants will be executed,” Curry said.

Harbison was originally jailed after law enforcement executed search warrant at his Sanford Road home on Nov. 27. He’d allegedly used a stolen identity to steal $100,000 from a Wells Fargo account in the Birmingham area.

Curry said the local case against Harbison is ongoing and developing.

“If anyone has any information on the identity theft involving Harbison, please contact the APD,” he said.

Curry said identity theft occurs when someone uses one’s personally identifying information like one’s name, Social Security number, or credit card number, without permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.

He offered these tips to avoid falling victim to identity theft.

“Awareness is an effective weapon against many forms of identity theft,” he said. “Be aware of how information is stolen and what you can do to protect yours. Monitor your personal information to uncover any problems quickly and know what to do when you suspect your identity has been stolen.

“Filing a police report, checking your credit reports, notifying creditors and disputing any unauthorized transactions are some of the steps you must take immediately to restore your good name,” he said. “If you receive information from a lending company in the mail and you didn’t apply with that lending company, that should be a red flag for possible identity theft.”