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2 New York men arrested for possessing credit card skimmer; first such arrest in Middletown

Posted 2/7/18

A routine traffic stop by Middletown police led to police arresting two people from Brooklyn, New York, for possession of a “skimming device” used to steal information from credit and …

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2 New York men arrested for possessing credit card skimmer; first such arrest in Middletown

Posted

A routine traffic stop by Middletown police led to police arresting two people from Brooklyn, New York, for possession of a “skimming device” used to steal information from credit and debit cards that are used at bank machines and gas pumps.

This is the first time borough police have recovered a skimming device in Middletown, although “dozens” of borough residents have reported being victims of these devices, both in Middletown and elsewhere, Detective Gary Rux told the Press & Journal.

Possession of a skimming device is illegal, Rux said, adding “what legal purpose would someone have” to possess such a device.

Arrested on Feb. 3 was the driver of the 2008 Volkswagen Passat, 24-year-old Shelwah Nathaniel Tamba; and passenger Andrew T. Andujar, 25.

According to police records, a borough police officer attempted to pull the vehicle over shortly after 6 p.m. on Feb. 3 as the car was on Vine Street in Middletown.

The officer followed the car out of town to Vine and Red Bridge Road in Londonderry Township, where the car was pulled over. Middletown police were assisted at the scene by Lower Swatara Township police.

Besides the skimming device, police also found in the vehicle marijuana, several credit and gift cards, cartons of cigarettes, Red Bull, and laundry detergent. Police believe that all the merchandise was purchased fraudulently.

The vehicle was registered to a woman from New York who was not present at the time.

Tamba was arraigned before District Judge David O’Leary on Feb. 4 and charged with felony counts of possessing and using the skimming device to access information, misdemeanor counts including possession of an instrument of crime, use/possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana, and traffic summary counts of having no rear lights and no headlights.

Bail was set at $25,000. Tamba was not listed as being in Dauphin County Prison.

Andujar was arraigned before O’Leary on Feb. 4 and faces the same charges, except for the traffic citations. Bail for Andujar was also set at $25,000, and he is not listed as being in DCP.

A preliminary hearing for both men has been set for Feb. 20 before District Judge David Judy.

Skimming devices such as the one police found are usually attached to an outdoor machine that people use at a bank, such as an automated teller machine, or at a self-service gas pump.

Criminals use the device to clone credit card data from a credit/debit card as the user is making a legitimate transaction using the ATM or the gas pump.

When a credit or debit card is swiped through the skimmer, the device captures and stores all the details stored on the magnetic strip of the card. This information is then used to clone the card, or to make fraudulent purchases or withdrawals, police said.

The best way to avoid being a victim of a skimmer is to be aware when you are using an ATM or a gas pump, Rux said.

If you see a device attached to the ATM or gas pump that seems out of place, or something that you would not ordinarily expect to see, don’t use the device.

Rux suggests that you go inside and ask the merchant about the device. If it turns out that the device is a skimmer, you should also contact police, he said.