News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


PRESS RELEASE 0215201301
Subject :

Fraud Arrest Leads to Illegal Assault Weapon Arrest
Contact : Brian Philip, Detective Sergeant, Police    650-329-2413
Anthony Alder Booking Photo
Palo Alto, CA -- Detectives conducting follow-up investigation into a routine fraud arrest from the Stanford Shopping Center wound up locating an AK-47 assault rifle, a stolen handgun, and high-capacity magazines at the Oakland residence of the suspect.

The case began on Monday, February 4, 2013, when 31-year-old Oakland resident Anthony Alder was arrested for fraud-related charges at the Stanford Shopping Center at 180 El Camino Real.  At about 3:52 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call from Stanford Shopping Center security reporting that someone had just tried to make a purchase with a fraudulent credit card at one of the shops.  An alert clerk had noticed that the card was missing many of the typical security features.  The suspect left the store immediately prior to the clerk calling Stanford Shopping Center security.  Officers responded but could not locate the suspect at that time.

About 40 minutes later, a Stanford Shopping Center security officer saw the suspect inside Macy's.  They notified police immediately.  Officers responded and detained the suspect for investigation.  That investigation revealed that Alder was in possession of 11 altered or fraudulent credit cards in his name (but with credit card numbers belonging to others), and that he had successfully purchased several hundred dollars worth of gift cards from Macy’s about three hours earlier.  Police booked the suspect into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for felony charges of burglary, possession and use of fraudulent credit cards, and use of personal identifying information of another (for the valid account numbers on the fraudulent cards).  A booking photo from Alder’s arrest is attached to this press release.

Alder is on probation for narcotics offenses, stemming from a prior conviction in Alameda County for possession for sales of narcotics and possession of concentrated cannabis.

Due to the amount of fraudulent credit cards in Alder’s possession, detectives conducted further follow-up investigation.  Detectives learned that Alder had attempted or completed a dozen additional fraudulent transactions at various retailers throughout Stanford Shopping Center that day.  Because all of the fraudulent credit cards were in Alder’s true name but bore legitimate credit card numbers belonging to others, the cards were clearly altered or possibly manufactured.  With this in mind, detectives obtained a search warrant for Alder’s residence in Oakland because it is not uncommon for those entrenched in identity theft-related crimes to own sophisticated credit card manufacturing equipment and supplies.  The investigation by detectives also revealed that Alder may own illegal assault weapons.  For the safety of the officers, detectives requested the assistance of the Palo Alto Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team to assist with the service of the search warrant.

At about 9:30 a.m. on Monday, February 11, 2013, the SWAT team served the search warrant at Alder’s residence in the 3300 block of East 17th Street in Oakland.  A search by detectives revealed an illegal AK-47 assault rifle, a handgun that had been reported stolen during a residential burglary in Manteca in March 2012, high-capacity loaded magazines, and additional evidence of identity theft to include more fraudulent credit cards.  Police did not find any credit card manufacturing equipment.  Police arrested Alder, who was present at the time of the search warrant execution after posting bail for his arrest a week earlier, for felony charges of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, possession of an illegal assault weapon, possession of stolen property, and a probation violation.  Police booked Alder into the Alameda County Main Jail.  A booking photo from that arrest must be obtained from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.

Anyone with additional information about these incidents can contact 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413.  Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.