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Alleged 'card-skimmers' face additional charges
Two of the five people accused earlier this week of being involved in a card-skimming operation in the Newberry Township area are now facing similar charges in the southern end of the county, according to police.
Southern Regional Police Officer Michael Storeman said Friday that he filed access device fraud charges for Marion Trifu, 20, of Lanham, Maryland, and Petrica Velcu, of Houston, Texas.
Trifu and Velcu were part of five people Newberry Township Police alleged to have card-skimmed in their jurisdiction.
Card skimming is stealing credit-card information by installing a device on ATMs, gas pumps or other credit machines.
Southern Regional: Shoreman said the two are involved with card-skimming at the Rutter's at 249 N. Main St., in Shrewsbury.
“It’s going to be a fairly significant dollar amount,” he said.
Shoreman, who is the lead investigator for the incident in Southern Regional's jurisdiction, said the card-skimming began around January this year.
“We’re seeing cards being compromised in January, and not being used until February," he said.
Both Trifu and Velcu remain in Maryland, where they await extradition to York County, Shoreman said Friday afternoon.
Once in York County, they will be arraigned on the both the Newberry Township and Southern Regional charges.
Trifu faces more than 20 charges, including five counts each of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, conspiracy to commit computer theft, criminal use of a communications facility, and one count each of identity theft, conspiracy to commit theft by unlawful taking, and conspiracy to receive stolen property, according to online court records.
Veclu faces more than 20 charges as well, including five counts each access device fraud, unlawful use of a computer,, computer theft, criminal use of a communications facility, identity theft, and one count each of theft by unlawful taking, and receiving stolen property, court records state.
Shoreman said the investigation is ongoing and the department is working alongside other York County police departments in investigating the card skimming.
“Everything’s related, all agencies have been working great together," he said.
Shoreman said he expects to file more charges related to card skimming.
Newberry Township: On Wednesday, Newberry Township Police filed charges for five people, alleging they were involved in card skimming.
Police have filed charges against Danusia Trifu, 48, Benone Lapadat, 39, Ionela Vaduva, 28, all of Lanham, Maryland, along with Marion Trifu 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 allege that about $17,000 was stolen in the card-skimming in Newberry Township that the five are alleged to have been involved with. Police Chief John 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.
Newberry Township Police say Danusia Trifu and Vaduva placed the skimming devices on an ATM at the Rutter's on 1090 Old Trail Road in late January. Marion Trifu, Lapadate, and Velcu are accused of using the cloned cards, police said.
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.
Tips: Storeman urged people to be on the lookout for card-skimming devices. He said people should look out for ATMs or gas pumps where there is something out of the ordinary.
The officer said at some gas pumps, there will be a locking mechanism in the card reader area. He said if the mechanism doesn't match the mechanisms on the other pumps, they could be compromised.
He also said people should be on the lookout for any cameras that may be near ATMs, and suggested people cover their hands when entering their PIN numbers so the camera can't record the numbers.
Shoreman said potential victims should consult with their bank if their cards have been compromised.
“Just be vigilant," he said. "And check your credit card statements.”
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.