Palo Alto police went to the home of an Oakland man this week expecting to find credit-card manufacturing equipment, but instead discovered an AK-47 assault rifle, a stolen handgun and high-capacity loaded magazines.
The search of the residence was triggered by the Feb. 4 arrest of 31-year-old Anthony Alder at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto. Police were called there by mall security just before 4 p.m., after Alder tried to make a purchase with a fraudulent credit card.
Alder had 11 altered or fraudulent credit cards that bore his name but someone else's number when he was finally detained by police inside a Macy's department store, where he had bought several hundred dollars' worth of gift cards three hours earlier, according to police.
Already on probation for possessing concentrated cannabis and drugs for sale, Alder was booked that day into Santa Clara County Main Jail on felony charges of burglary, possession and use of fraudulent credit cards, and use of personal identifying information of another.
Further investigation revealed Alder had attempted or completed a dozen additional transactions at stores throughout the Stanford Shopping Center, police said.
Because Alder allegedly had so many altered or manufactured credit cards, detectives obtained a search warrant for his residence on the 3300 block of East 17th Street in Oakland.
"It is not uncommon for those entrenched in identity theft-related crimes to own sophisticated credit card manufacturing equipment and supplies," Sgt. Brian Philip said in a statement Friday.
Detectives asked the Palo Alto Police Department's SWAT team to help serve the search warrant Monday after learning that Alder possibly had illegal assault weapons.
Those fears proved correct. Police said they found an AK-47 assault rifle, a handgun stolen in a Manteca residential burglary and high-capacity loaded magazines. While no credit card manufacturing equipment or supplies were present, additional evidence of identity theft was located, police said.
Alder, who was present at the time of the search after posting bail last week, was arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, possession of an illegal assault weapon, possession of stolen property and a probation violation. He was booked into Alameda County Main Jail.
Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call the police department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Tipsters who wish to remain anonymous can text or call 650-383-8984, or email email@example.com.