Cops found credit cards belonging to 32 people in fake Uber driver’s car, authorities say

Gabriel Jackson | CPD

Chicago police detectives allegedly found 32 credit cards belonging to 32 different people in the car of a man who’s accused of operating a fake rideshare vehicle in the city’s nightlife districts. Gabriel Jackson, 53, was arrested earlier this month, just days after completing parole for running a similar ruse in 2017.

According to prosecutors and a CPD report, Jackson double-parked in front of Spy Bar, 226 West Ontario, around closing time on November 13. The report said that a man and woman who list out-of-state addresses got into his vehicle thinking it was their Uber.

Jackson allegedly told the couple that they were in the wrong car but offered to let them pay him directly for a ride to their destination in Lincoln Park. When they arrived, Jackson scanned a credit card from each victim on his phone and had them enter their PINs, Assistant State’s Attorney Sergio Gomez said. He told them their banks declined the transactions and the alleged victims then paid Jackson $15 cash for the ride. They later realized that someone was conducting transactions on the cards they gave to Jackson, Gomez said.

The victims notified police and CPD’s financial crimes investigators quickly identified Jackson as a suspect based on their knowledge of his rideshare scam history. Cops arrested Jackson during a traffic stop less than six hours after the couple was allegedly scammed, according to court and police records.

Police found a bag containing 32 credit cards inside Jackson’s Chevy Impala, a CPD report said. A card belonging to the man he picked up at Spy Bar was in his pants pocket, the report said.

On the front seat of Jackson’s car, police found a credit card swiper attached to a cellphone that was opened to an app that records PINs, according to the report.

Among the 32 cards police found in the bag was one that belongs to a man who identified Jackson as the person who posed as a rideshare driver as the victim left a Wrigleyville bar on September 16, police reported. That victim said a phony Uber driver swiped his card on a phone and told him to enter the PIN. The driver returned a similar-looking credit card and then used the victim’s card and PIN to withdraw $1,000 from his account at an ATM near Wrigley Field.

Prosecutors have now charged Jackson with two counts of facilitating identity theft, theft, and possessing three or more stolen credit cards.

Judge Barbara Dawkins allowed him to go home by posting a $500 deposit – the amount he is accused of stealing from the man who was picked up outside Spy Bar. She did not order him to go onto electronic monitoring or observe a curfew.

Long history

Jackson was arrested in August 2017 and charged with 23 counts of operating a continuing financial crime enterprise and identity theft for working a similar scam.

Authorities said Jackson would pose as a rideshare driver to lure bar patrons into his car. Jackson requested a debit card, swiped it through his phone, and asked the victim to enter their PIN at the end of each trip.

Then, Jackson would return a similar-looking debit card that did not belong to the passenger. After the victim got out of his car, Jackson would drive to an ATM and withdraw cash using the victim’s actual card and the PIN data that they entered, police said.

Jackson picked up passengers around nightlife districts in the 1st, 18th, 14th, and 19th police districts, which stretch from Uptown to the Near South Side and include the Bucktown and Wicker Park areas. He listed a home address in Lakeview East at the time.

Months later, he was arrested again to face additional charges for allegedly operating the same scam while he was supposed to be on home electronic monitoring.

State records show he completed parole in those cases about a week before he was arrested this month.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com