Fort Myers jeweler catches credit card scammer making $16K purchase

A Southwest Florida business owner helped catch a credit card scammer with a clever ploy of his own.

Cerio’s Jewelry Owner Greg Cerio caught Terris Devon Washington, a credit card scammer, making a purchase illegally at his business in Fort Myers Wednesday.

“Everyone was nervous,” Cerio said. “My wife was nervous. I was angry.”

Cerio said he had never been as upset as he was in his career after catching Washington cheating him.

“He wanted to make a large purchase, unusually large, $16,000,” Cerio said.

Cerio said Washington walked into his store off Colonial and US 41. With his girlfriend with him, Washington tried to buy an expensive watch and other pieces of jewelry. At first, the $16,000 charge wasn’t going through.

“He said, ‘Well, let me try it,’” Cerio said. “He swiped it, and it showed approved. I said, ‘Great,’ I made a sale.”

But the sale was quickly flagged by his credit card monitoring company. Cerio received a text message.

“This was part of a suspected stolen credit card ring,” Cerio said. “And I shouldn’t do business with this customer, and call police.”

That is exactly what Cerio did. While his wife called 911, Cerio kept Washington in the store talking to him about his career as a music producer. It wasn’t long before Fort Myers Police Department showed up.

“They showed up in force, and he didn’t know what to do,” Cerio said.

Washington and his girlfriend were arrested. A police search of his car found multiple fraudulent credit cards, thanks to Cerio’s quick thinking.

Washington was arrested for grand theft and is part of a larger investigation into fraudulent use of credit cards.

“Every once and awhile, there’s someone that wants to put the screws to you,” Cero said. “But this one time, we got him.”

Reporter:John-Carlos Estrada