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Valley suspect would distract cashiers to conduct gift card scam, police say

The 39-year-old suspect allegedly found a way to distract cashiers in order to walk out of Valley stores with stolen gift cards and merchandise, records show.

PHOENIX — A woman has been recently booked into jail on suspicion of carrying out a scam at several stores that allegedly netted her hundreds of dollars worth of gift cards and merchandise.

Alexandrea Gallegos, 39, was arrested on Feb. 4 in Phoenix after investigators say they connected her to a number of scams reported in recent weeks at stores throughout the Valley.

Court records show Gallegos would allegedly walk up to a cashier with a couple of gift cards and ask the clerk for a pack of cigarettes. When the cashier had their back turned, the suspect would reach over the counter and manipulate the register to make it appear as she had paid for the items in cash.

When the cashier returned, the suspect would claim to have paid with a credit card and the transaction would appear to be completed on the register. 

The suspect is accused of using this same method to steal gift cards several times at other stores in Phoenix, court records show. She would allegedly walk out each time with between $300 and $600 in cards or merchandise. 

In some of the instances, the cashier was able to cancel the transaction. 

Gallegos allegedly had 48 gift cards in her purse at the time of her arrest, public records show. She was booked into the Maricopa County jail on several counts of fraud and theft.

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What is the Valley?

“The Valley” is what locals call the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. It is considered the largest metropolitan area in the Southwest. 

The Valley is made up of various major cities other than Phoenix, including:

  • Mesa
  • Chandler
  • Scottsdale
  • Tempe
  • Glendale
  • Surprise
  • Peoria
  • Gilbert
  • El Mirage
  • Avondale
  • Litchfield Park
  • Goodyear
  • Buckeye

Whether a city is in the “East Valley” or “West Valley” depends on where it is in relation to Phoenix.

The cities of the Valley have a combined population of 4,845,832 people, according to the 2020 United States Census. This makes it the 11th largest metropolitan area in the country right behind the Boston and Atlanta areas.

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