Merced woman arrested in stolen credit card case

A Merced woman is under investigation in the use of stolen credit cards to purchase telephone calling cards for two gang members in custody, the Merced Police Department reported.

Ereka Koerner, 27, was arrested May 6 at her home in the 1600 block of Sacramento Drive. Officers found several credit cards and checks in her home that had been reported stolen from vehicles and mailboxes, police said.

“The investigation division made a significant arrest in its ongoing to attempt to reduce identity theft within the City of Merced,” Capt. Tom Trindad said in a news release.

Investigators said Koerner used the credit cards to purchase phone cards for two suspected Norteño gang members: Ruben Vargas at the Merced County Jail and his brother, Alejandro Vargas, who is in federal custody, police said.

The case was triggered April 2 after a theft was reported at the Merced Walmart involving one of the credit cards in question, police said.

Koerner was arrested on suspicion of stolen property possession after police searched her home. She posted bail and was not listed as a Merced County Jail inmate on Monday.

During the search of Koerner’s home, police also arrested 26-year-old Silbestre Gaeta on suspicion of methamphetamine possession, police said.

The Merced County District Attorney’s Office said the case was still under review and no formal charges had been filed as of Monday afternoon.

Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Jeff Horn at (209) 388-7739, or the Merced Police Department Tipster Line at (209) 385-4725. Individuals can send information via anonymous text message to police by dialing TIP411 (847411) and including the word ComVIP as the keyword in the text message.