ATM looters arrested

April 12, 2012 at 6:17 PM

CHICAGO, April 12 (UPI) -- Chicago police have arrested two men suspected of looting ATMs by stealing debit card information, part of what they say is a Romanian crime cell.

Two men were nabbed this week after Chase bank tipped off police to suspicious activity involving their ATMs. Negru Raul, 25, and Vasile Dobos, 23, both Romanian, have been charged with felony identity fraud and ordered held on immigration detainers.

Their alleged scam started with installing a "skimmer" on a cash machine, or a scanner fitted over the card slot able to read and record names and card numbers as they are swiped. They would also plant a video camera to capture pin numbers as people typed them in. Using all this information, the two would create fake debit cards, typically using retail gift cards, and withdraw the maximum amount from each bank account.

Similar scams are still being carried out, however, police say they have yet to arrest anyone else.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported police have recovered $7,000 from the men and have so far identified 16 victims.

Dobos told police he was living in Chicago at the time. Police are verifying Raul's identity. He told them he was from London, and the name he gave them, Negru Raul, or "black river," is the name of a river in Romania.

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