Thursday, March 15, 2018

Accused ATM Skimming Guru Went AWOL Monday; Today, Skimmers Returned To The North Side

Today's skimmer was found at this Lincoln Square Walgreens.
It’s probably just a coincidence, but three days after a man charged with possessing a stack of skimmed debit cards skipped bail, police today recovered a skimming device from an ATM in Lincoln Square.

According to police records, today’s was the first skimming device recovered by police on the North Side since suspected skimming guru Marius Manolache was arrested February 11.

The skimmer was found around 1 o’clock this afternoon on an ATM at Walgreens, 4801 North Lincoln, police said. An evidence technician was seen retrieving the device a couple of hours later.

Skimmers are small devices that criminals plant on ATMs to secretly capture users' banking information and PINs. After allowing the sneaky contraptions to collect data for a period of time, fraudsters return to the ATM, collect the skimmers, and then create fake ATM cards using the captured data.

A couple dozen skimmers had been found in recent months. Before today, the last time a skimmer was recorded by police on the North Side was February 8 in the 400 block of West Armitage.

A warrant is out for Marius Manolache.
Four days later, cops found Marius Manolache withdrawing cash from an Avondale ATM with a stack of homemade debit cards, according to charges. Each fraudulent card had the victim’s PIN written on the back. The PINs and embedded card numbers were captured earlier by skimming devices, prosecutors allege.

Manolache, 42, was living in a hotel room near Clark and Diversey at the time of his arrest. Cops who arrested him said he had seventeen fraudulent debit cards and $3,040 worth of $20 bills in his pockets.

Prosecutors charged him with felony burglary, felony aggravated identity theft of a person over age 60, and felony theft of identity from more than three victims. Judge Sophia Atcherson ordered him to surrender his Romanian passport and set bail at $5,000. Manolache—a man with $3,040 worth of twenties in his pocket—easily posted the $500 deposit to walk free.

He was never seen again. Court records show he skipped his court appearance on Monday. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

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