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Eight accused of 'card-skimming' in York County
Eight people, including five from outside the state, are accused of "card-skimming" — stealing credit-card information by installing a device on ATMs, gas pumps or other credit machines — in York County.
On Friday, Northern York County Regional Police filed charges against three York County residents, alleging they were found with a "card-skimming" device in Dover Township.
On Wednesday, Newberry Township Police filed charges against five people, four of whom are from Maryland and the other from Texas, for "card-skimming" in the Goldsboro area, according to charging documents.
Newberry Township: Police have filed charges against Danusia Trifu, 48, Marion Trifu, 20, Benone Lapadat, 39, Ionela Vaduva, 28, all of Lanham, Maryland, and Petrica Maradona Velcu, of Houston, Texas.
Newberry Township Police say the five were involved in card-skimming in January. They are believed to be Romanian nationals, according to a news release.
According to police, the five used skimmers to get card information which they would then use to take money from various ATMs from York and Cumberland counties.
Police Chief John Snyder said the devices look as though they belong there.
"They're not something that sticks out right away," he said, adding that they're "very high-tech."
"That's why they're successful," he said.
Police allege that about $17,000 was stolen in the card-skimming in Newberry Township that the five are alleged to have been involved with. Snyder said Wednesday afternoon that two of the five were awaiting extradition to York County from Carroll County, Maryland, when the other three came to visit them.
He said the Carroll County officials had warrants and took the three into custody. He said this happened shortly after the warrants were obtained.
“It was kind of good timing,” Snyder said Wednesday.
Once brought to York County, the five will be charged with theft, receiving stolen property, access device fraud, unlawful device making equipment, unlawful duplication, unlawful use of a computer, computer trespass, computer theft and criminal use of a communication facility, police said.
Investigation: Police began investigating when skimming devices were found on an ATM at the Rutter's on 1090 Old Trail Road, Goldsboro, on Jan. 22, 25, and 26.
Video surveillance from the location, as well as other locations where duplicated cards created with the "skimmed" information were used, helped identify a light-skinned female who went to the ATM at the Rutter's on the night of Jan. 22, police said. She was seen removing a device from the ATM, documents state.
At about 8 a.m. Jan. 25, a woman with reddish hair was seen placing a skimming device on the ATM and leaving the store, documents state.
On the night of Jan. 26, the first woman removed the device and left the store, police allege.
On March 4, the Carroll County Sheriff's Office made a traffic stop of a red Mazda minivan and found Lapadat and Velcu had credit-card skimming devices on them, police said.
Danusia Trifu and Vaduva had visited Lapadat and Velcu while they were in custody, charging documents allege.
Police say when they compared the photo identification Danusia Trifu and Vaduva gave authorities during their visit with the surveillance footage, they matched the two as the women installing the devices in the Rutter's.
Additionally, police say Danusia Trifu's son, Marion Trifu, was seen in surveillance footage using one of the cloned cards.
Snyder said the five are the main people involved in the skimming and said he doesn't think there will be any additional arrests for card-skimming in the department's jurisdiction, but he said he could not completely rule out additional arrests.
The chief commended his investigators, saying they did a "phenomenal" job.
“They started last week, and they were digging in really deep this week,” he said, adding that they reached out to other federal agencies to assist in the investigation.
Dover: Three people remained in York County Prison Wednesday after police say they were found with blank credit cards and a card-skimming device in Dover Township on Friday.
Northern York County Police say Diandra Alexis Santana, 26, David Carmichael Williams, 33, and Tyrone Clifford Pegram, 28, were found with marijuana and the device in their car after a traffic stop.
Santana, of 43 S. Penn St. Apt. 3, York City, Pegram, of 470 W. Princess St., York City, and Williams, of 3022 Mackenzi Lane, North Codorus Township, are charged with access device fraud, unlawful device-making equipment and possession of an instrument to commit crime, according to charging documents.
Williams is also charged with drug possession, and Pegram is charged with providing false identification to law enforcement, court documents state.
Early Friday morning, a Northern York County Regional Police officer pulled over a maroon Chevrolet Trailblazer heading south on Carlisle Road in Dover Township, police said.
After smelling marijuana coming from the car, and seeing Williams trying to throw an alleged "marijuana cigarette" out the window, the officer searched the car, and police say blank credit cards and a skimming device were found.
Williams denied any knowledge of the device and cards, saying they were in the car when he got in, and that he had no idea who it belonged to, police said.
An employee at a nearby Rutter's told the officer the three of them had been in the store and tried buying cigarettes, but one of Santana's cards was denied, documents state. She said Santana used another card and successfully bought the cigarettes, police said. The employee also said she remembered Santana being at the store as recently as Feb. 27, when she purchased multiple cartons of cigarettes, according to charging documents.
Pegram, who initially told the officer his name was Dajani Harris, denied knowing about the cards, saying he was sleeping the whole time and did not remember going to Rutter's, police said.
When the officer was speaking with Santana, she immediately said she and Williams have been going from store to store for "at least six months," purchasing cigarettes, documents state. She said she gets $17.50 per carton and that Williams made the cards they used, police said.
While running Pegram through a database, the officer found that Pegram had lied about his name, documents state. Pegram told police he did not know about the fraud, according to police. He did not answer anything about giving a wrong name, charging documents allege.
The three were arraigned on the charges Friday morning and remanded to York County Prison in lieu of $50,000 bail each.
It is not clear if they have retained attorneys. Their preliminary hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. April 4 in District Judge David C. Eshbach's office.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at email@example.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.