Riverside Police Arrest Two in Sophisticated ATM Skimming Operation

Riverside police have arrested two people on suspicion of skimming, which involves employing magnetic card readers and concealed cameras at ATMs to take thousands of dollars from unsuspecting victims.

One victim in Riverside said that the burglars emptied her bank account, costing her $7,250.

“I kind of would expect it if it was at a petrol station, but you’re bold enough to do it at a bank,” the victim said. “Who on earth are these people?” And how can they get access and get away with it in broad daylight?”

When the victim attempted to withdraw money from her account, she realised it had been wiped clean, according to the victim.

“My nerves were shot because I was thinking about all the things I couldn’t do that I needed to do.”

“I couldn’t pay by car making a payment, couldn’t pay my light bill, and I got 30 days late (fees) on my credit cards.”

It happened at the Bank of America drive-through near the crossroads of Magnolia and Tyler in Riverside. According to the victim, the suspects made seven successive $1,000 withdrawals on consecutive days before taking the remaining $250 on the final day.

The victim stated that she contacted the bank, but it took months for them to reimburse her with the funds.

“When I spoke with the bank representative, they told me they have 90 days to respond.” And I’m thinking I’ll be homeless in 90 days. There was a lot of red tape and back and forth. They’d issue me a denial letter every thirty days.”

After the victim reported the crime to Riverside police, detectives were able to get security video from the Bank of America ATM near Magnolia and Tyler, which showed the suspect not only installing the skimming device but also taking her money.

Detectives claimed they apprehended two individuals matching the descriptions of the burglars recorded on video while surveilling the bank on Wednesday, November 15th.

Police claimed they discovered many access cards inside the suspects’ vehicle, as well as USB and skimmer devices intended to grab victim card data and a gadget with a pin-hole camera used to observe unsuspecting victims input their PIN numbers.

Nicolae Adrian Masu, 29, and George Daniel Mirica, 26, both of Santa Ana, were detained on suspicion of identity theft, distributing stolen identifying information, and conspiring to defraud.

Because the case involves two victims, if convicted of identity theft, each defendant faces a possible prison term of three years and eight months.

Detectives think these guys were operating a skimming operation across Southern California.

“They’re in Riverside; they’re in Eastvale; they’re in Ventura; they’re in LA; they’re in Santa Ana; they’re everywhere,” said Javier Cabrera, an officer with the department. “And that’s exactly what they do. Every morning, I get up and this is what I do for a living; this is what they do. They wake up and wreck people’s lives.”

According to police, both individuals secured bail less than 14 hours after being apprehended.

Detectives warn customers that if their bank allows them to utilise the “tap” feature at the ATM to access their account, it’s likely a better way to make a transaction since they won’t be sliding their card in a magnetic strip scanner that might be hacked by a skimmer.

They also advise users to secure their PIN codes by covering the number pad on both sides, since suspects frequently utilise small pinhole cameras hidden on the sides of ATM machines to catch a person typing their PIN.

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