Man Arrested In Tyler With 431 Credit Card Numbers, Check-Making Equipment

The Smith County Sheriff's Department has arrested a man whom Sheriff J.B. Smith calls a "major operator" in identity theft.

"We have no idea where he has ripped people off or how many times he has used these credit cards," said Sheriff J.B. Smith, Smith County.

Hundreds of credit cards, gift cards, photo I.D.s, weapons, and drugs were all found on a possible police impersonator.

"They found red and blue lights in the grill. That there was a sawed off shotgun next to the driver," said Smith, "They also found equipment from law enforcement agencies such as a Sheriff's hat."

Lucas George Cates, 27, of Lindale, was arrested Tuesday in Tyler's Lindsey Park for numerous charges, including possession of a controlled substance, carrying a prohibited weapon, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, evading arrest, resisting arrest, and revocation of probation from Wood County, Texas.

At Lindsey Park in Tyler Smith County Sheriff Deputies noticed a car parked with it's lights on about 5 am Tuesday. When they approached the vehicle they noticed the driver was asleep, after waking him he immediately tried to race off. He ran over a curb and then stalled out.

"They managed to get him out of the vehicle but when they did he started to fight. They had to use physical force to subdue him," said Sheriff Smith.

While searching Cates' car, deputies found property that they believe was used by Cates to make counterfeit checks and counterfeit credit cards. Among that evidence seized was a laptop, scanner, printer, label writer, label printer, various computer software discs related to check-making, and a large package of blank check stock paper.

Inside the car they also found paperwork from a hotel in Los Colinas, The Wingate Inn, showing hundreds of credit card numbers of people from all over the United States.

"Hundreds of sheets of check printing paper, a machine here in front of me to print those checks," said Smith.

Deputies also found that the suspect was in possession of five social security cards, three Texas driver's licenses, one birth certificate, 431 different credit card numbers, information on 156 different persons identifying information, as well as 39 used gift cards.

Cates has been in jail at least sixteen times before, on charges ranging from possession of marijuana to resisting searches to possession of a prohibited felon to failing to identify a fugitive.

Authorities are now trying to track down the people whose license and social security numbers were found on Cates.

"What we have done is emailed every law enforcement agency from the Gulf Coast to Oklahoma to Fort Worth, and the whole Eastern district of Texas because we don't know how many times this individual has used these cards or has impersonated a peace officer," said Sheriff Smith.

He was arraigned Wednesday afternoon in a Smith County court. His bonds total $214,255.

Cates is being held the Smith County Jail on 13 charges including multiple drug and weapon charges, evading arrest.Cates will have further charges filed against him related to the credit cards and personal information found with him when he was arrested.

Danielle Capper, Reporting.