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Riverside police arrest two for "skimming" at bank ATMs, stealing more than $10k

Riverside police announced the arrest of two suspects whom they believe have been installing "skimming" devices at local bank ATMs throughout the area, resulting in tens of thousands of dollars stolen. 

Skimming devices "capture the card data and PINs" of bank customers, "which can be cloned onto another card," Riverside Police Department officials said in a statement. This allows the suspects to make fraudulent withdrawals and transactions using money from the unsuspecting victims' accounts. 

On Wednesday, Economic Crimes detectives saw two men parked across from a Bank of America, located in the 10200 block of Magnolia Avenue, which they say appeared to have a "makeshift antennae attached and pointed towards the bank's ATMs."

Nicolae Adrian Masu (left) and George Daniel Mirica (right). Riverside Police Department

The detectives approached the men and were able to identify them as the same suspects that they were already investigating in two different cases at the specific branch of the bank, which resulted in more than $10,000 being stolen from two victims. 

They arrested Santa Ana men Nicolae Adrian Masu, 29, and George Daniel Mirica, 26 for identity theft, transferring stolen identifying information and conspiracy to defraud. 

Inside of their vehicle, investigators found a number of access cards that the suspects used to install cloned data from a skimmed card, both USB and skimmer devices that they used to capture card data from victims and other items that they used to install the skimming devices on ATM machines, police said. 

Both suspects were booked on Wednesday but released several hours later after posting $10,000 bail. 

"Detectives have noticed primarily Eastern European Crime rings are committing these crimes," the statement said. 

Police remind the public that they should always check ATM machines for any unusual or loose parts that are attached before use. 

"Card Skimming Fraud is at an all-time high throughout the United States," stated Economic Crimes Detective Brian Money.  "Suspects regularly target ATM cards that do not contain security chips, and most often, those ATM cards that are issued by EDD and EBT."  He went on to say "they also target "pay cards" which are debit cards issued by many employers in lieu of a traditional paycheck because they too do not have the security chip feature installed.  Cards with security chips can also be cloned, but it a much harder process for the suspects as opposed to cards without."

Anyone with additional information on these incidents or who feels that they have been victimized by such crimes is urged to contact detectives at (951) 353-7115.

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