The Madera Police Department says three men were caught on camera as they planted a skimming device on a card reader at a grocery store, Rancho San Miguel, in Madera.
It took them a matter of seconds to insert the skimmer into the device. Skimmers are used by crooks to steal people’s information to make purchases or collect cash at ATMs.
In the video surveillance captured by the store, it looks like a regular day of customers shopping, nothing out of the usual. You see the three men purchasing household items like toilet paper, chips, and paper towels. But, little do people know, those men are about to commit a crime.
It happened so quickly that no one around the store, not even the cashier noticed.
“It seems like it’s something that they’ve probably done before, and if not, they definitely went over what everyone was going to do before it happened,” said Detective Jacob Dunn, with the Madera Police Department.
He says one of the suspects in the video is seen distracting the cashier at the timing belt where the items are placed. The other suspect is seen covering the act with a large pack of toilet paper while the third suspect slaps the skimmer on the card reader. As easy as slapping on a phone case.
Caption: The Madera Police Department says three men were caught on camera as they planted a skimming device on a card reader at a grocery store, Rancho San Miguel, in Madera. It took them a matter of seconds to insert the skimmer into the device. Skimmers are used by crooks to steal people’s information to make purchases or collect cash at ATMs. (Photos: Madera Police Department)
At one point, an employee is spotted walking towards them as it happens, missing the crime in progress by just seconds.
Police say the skimmer device was on the card reader for two days before it was discovered.
“One of the customers inserted their card and as they were trying to take out the card. The device broke off the card reader itself, and that’s when they discovered the skimmer was there,” Dunn said.
So, what do crooks do after they steal your information?
“In our experience, we have seen online purchases, but typically they will take the information and apply it to a gift card or just a blank card itself with another card reading device and they will go to ATMs and make withdrawals for cash,” Dunn said.
If you made a purchase at Rancho San Miguel on May 14 or15, police are asking for you to check your bank statements and to report any unusual activity.
The three suspects are still on the loose. Madera PD is asking for your help to find out who they are or if you have any information regarding this ongoing investigation.
Police say the crooks are looking at criminal charges of identity theft and a misdemeanor for possession of a skimming device.
Anyone who recognizes these men is asked to call Madera PD at (559) 675-4220. You can also call Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-STOP, if your tip leads to an arrest, you may be entitled to a cash reward.