Card-skimming thieves get $85K from Torrance, Burbank US Bank customers

BURBANK, Calif. (KABC) -- More than 50 U.S. Bank customers in Burbank were hit by a pair of high-tech thieves who installed skimmers on an ATM and a pinhole camera to record pin numbers.

It's a crime that's affecting more and more people each year. The thieves skim the ATM card numbers and steal customers' money.

"They did this three days in a row, successfully compromising numerous accounts of their customers," Burbank police Sgt. Claudio Losacco said.

The incident happened two weeks ago. On Monday, the thieves struck again in Torrance and police were notified. Around 11 p.m. that night, two men were arrested as they returned to remove their devices.

Losacco said the equipment was sophisticated and well-manufactured, which is not usually the case for skimming devices.

The two suspects, 42-year-old Ferenc Szekely, of Las Vegas, and 54-year-old Alexandru Barbu, of Studio City, were able to get away with about $85,000. More than $230,000 in transactions were declined.

The pair now face multiple charges of identity theft and commercial burglary, while customers face the prospect of doing everything they can to protect themselves and still being at risk.

Police said customers should frequently check their accounts because the faster a change is noticed, the faster it can be resolved.

According to the software company FICO, ATM crimes that include skimming, shot up more than 500 percent in 2015.
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