The online news portal of TV5
ANGELES CITY – A man claiming to be Italian was caught red-handed while installing copying gadgets in an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) of Security Bank along McArthur Highway, Barangay Balibago Saturday, and police suspect he is part of an international syndicate engaged in ATM card fraud.
Suspect Roberto De Cecco, 62, had no passport when arrested, but claimed to be Italian, according to Chief Inspector Romeo Castro, Station 4 police chief of the Angeles City Police Office (ACPO).
He said De Cecco was initially held by Security Bank guards who became suspicious after the foreigner stayed unduly long in front of the ATM machine. When accosted, he hastily pulled out all electronic devices he had installed. He did not resist when the guards apprehended him.
Police identified two other suspects believed to have fled on board a black Hyundai Tucson (RMZ-123) as Gyorgy Sandor Varro and Marian Grama, both Romanian tourists.
The suspects with two other compatriots had been staying at La Belle Helene Townhouse on Mount Makiling Street, Plaridel 1, Bgy. Malabanias, Angeles City and had paid six months advance rental, said Castro. (They were living In Unit 4, Labelle Helene 2)
He said photocopies of the passports of Varro and Grama were attached in the house lease contract submitted by Leonides Cabico, the townhouse administrator.
Castro said a follow-up operation at the suspects’ residence lead to the discovery of other electronic gadgets believed used in their modus operandi. He said the residence had apparently been abandoned.
Seized from De Cecco were a piece of metal which serves as an improvised ATM access device, data-capturing device (also known as MAG Stripe reader for ATM card) and metal cover for CCTV camera with electronic chip, believed use to transmit data to a laptop computer.
Piecing together the group’s modus operandi, Castro said four other suspects were positioned inside the getaway vehicle, where they received data transmitted from the ATM device card reader. He said the group has also ready-made blank ATM machine where stolen data are stored. The clone card will be used to withdraw in other branches of the bank.
He said hot pursuit operations were launched against the suspects who fled, and the Bureau of Immigration is verifying the suspects’ status.
De Cecco was brought to City Prosecutors’ Office where criminal complaints were filed, ranging from violation of the Access Device Regulation Act, E-Commerce Law, and sabotage. He is detained at the Station 4 detention cell. (Great work by the Security Bank Guards and the police of Station 4 led by Police Chief Inspector Castro. I hope they get the rest of the gang)