It all started when one of the suspects was pulled over for a traffic stop in January.
"We learned that the LAPD was investigating some of these players, we learned the L.A. County Sheriff's Identity Theft Task Force was involved, the Secret Service, the Attorney General's Office of the State of California. We joined forces," said Glendale police Sgt. Tom Lorenz.
Evidence from just three of the nine locations included the devices allegedly installed in gas pumps and ATMs to record credit and debit card information, the computers used to download the information, the machines and plastic cards used to allegedly make the fake credit cards that could be sold or used by the suspects, and even keys to gas pumps to install the skimmers.
"We actually seized a truck, a Ford F-350 pickup truck, that the tool box in the back was not a tool box, but when you opened it up there was actually a bladder in there, and they could pump 100-200 gallons of gas," said Lorenz. "They would use a stolen credit card that they had skimmed that they had stolen and re-encoded and fill those bladders. They would then go to third parties and sell that on the black market."
Two of the suspects are still outstanding, and may have even left the country. Police expect to make other arrests as a result of uncovering the organized crime ring.
"They do have guns and I would venture to say some of them do have ties to a particular gang, with that being said gangs usually have a propensity to violence where they are going to protect their assets," said Lorenz.
Police say if you were one of the people targeted, you should be mostly protected as a consumer because it doesn't appear social security numbers or other forms of identification were accessed. However, the crime is a potential loss of millions of dollars to banks.