The arrest of two men in a TD Bank ATM area in Brooklyn early Wednesday morning led to the discovery of a robust ATM skimming operation involving cooperation from China. According to the NYPD, officers spotted two men tampering with an ATM around 1:30 a.m. yesterday at the TD Bank on 630 Shore Parkway in Bath Beach. After observing them allegedly using tools to remove parts from the ATM, cops arrested the men and took them to the precinct for questioning.
Police have identified the suspects as Elvin Pineda, 25, and Luis Fernandez, 28. At the police station, they were interrogated by an officer with the Financial Crimes Task Force, who determined that they were removing ATM parts "and shipping them to China to be duplicated and used to accommodate skimming devices."
Pineda also revealed that he "had additional materials at his residence commonly used for skimming." Officers obtained a search warrant and tossed his apartment; here is what they found:
- 2 embossers
- 2 re-encoders
- A laminator
- 2 color printers,
- A tipper machine
- 6 laptops
- An HP Computer
- A CD Writer
- 7 flash drives
- an iPad
- A high definition printer
- 2 signature pads
In addition, the search turned up 127 blank Capital One credit cards, 76 blank American Express cards, 338 blank Citibank Cards, 200 blank credit cards and 41 forged New York and out of state driver's licenses.
Mr. Pineda and Fernandez were both charged with Criminal Mischief. Fernandez was also charged with Grand Larceny, Identity Theft and Possession of a Forged Instrument because he allegedly had three counterfeit credit cards with him when he was arrested. Pineda was also charged with multiple counts of Criminal Possession of a Forgery Device, Possession of a Forged Instrument and Possession of a Skimmer device for the materials in his apartment on Bay 47th Street.
The NYPD says the investigation by the Financial Crimes Task Force is ongoing. If you're curious, here's what an ATM skimmer looks like at a Chase Bank ATM. They're difficult to spot, so it's recommended that you cover your hand while you're entering your PIN, because thieves also attach tiny cameras above the keypad to capture the codes.