Police departments in the area have warned local Walgreens branches to be on the lookout for a clique of scammers who hit stores in Peabody and Salem.
A group of men appear to have swindled the drug store chain out of thousands of dollars by using potentially stolen credit cards to purchase gift cards and prepaid credit cards.
On Wednesday morning, the Walgreens at 59 Boston St., Salem, reported that five men came in the store separately to purchase small items and Visa gift cards worth $500.
While some of the cards used to make the purchases were declined, none were reported as stolen during the transaction. Walgreens estimated that they lost $1,526.51 from the incident.
Around the same time at the Walgreens on New Derby Street in Salem, police were responding to a similar scene. The manager alleged that four men came into the store around 7 a.m. and took turns trying to load $500 onto Visa gift cards.
Many of the attempts were declined, but three transactions were approved, totaling $1,531.59.
One suspect was described as 6 feet tall, in his early 30s. At the time of the incident, he was wearing a white long-sleeved shirt, with a dark vest, and blue jeans.
Another suspect was described as approximately 5 feet 7 inches in height, and in his mid-30s. He was wearing black pants, a white shirt, and a black baseball hat.
The third suspect was described as 6 feet, also in his mid-30s. At the time of the scam, he was wearing a black Breaking Bad T-shirt and wristbands on both arms.
The fourth suspect was described as about 5 feet 7 inches, wearing a black baseball cap with white symbols on it.
All of the suspects were described as African-American.
Peabody reports a similar incident occurred Wednesday morning at the Walgreens at 35 Main St., in which a suspect grabbed one gift card and left the store. The four men described above were seen leaving the area.
The Salem Police Department is currently investigating the incidents and reviewing surveillance footage.