Three Romanian nationals were arrested for siphoning off money from various bank accounts across Mumbai by skimming ATMs. The trio was apprehended on Sunday afternoon by officials from VB Nagar police station, Kurla, from their rented apartment in Fatima House, Bandra (W).
The trio was presented at Kurla Court yesterday, which remanded them in police custody till October 13
Cops said Aulin Budoi (31), Marian Grama (42) and Miu Ayonel (42) had been residing in the city for the last two months on a tourist visa. The arrests were the outcome of a complaint filed on September 14, wherein the complainant stated that Rs 36,000 was fraudulently withdrawn from his account from a Union Bank ATM near Sheetal Cinema in Kurla (W).
One of the Marks and Spencer bags spotted by the cops in the CCTV recordings that led to the arrest
Elaborating their modus operandi, an officer from VB Nagar police station said the trio targeted unmanned ATM kiosks across Mumbai. They would install a pinhole camera on the ceiling, above the ATM, to procure a user’s PIN. Hours later, they would visit the kiosk and insert a card reader to gain access to the user’s account, and use the PIN to withdraw cash.
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An officer from VB Nagar police station said, “The accused have confessed to the crime and said they had planned to stay in the city for another few months. The trio said they have been skimming ATMs all over Mumbai since the time they first landed. The even confessed to committing similar crimes in England, Italy, Romania and other European nations, and have been arrested by Italian police in the past.”
It was while scrutinising the CCTV footage obtained from an ATM kiosk in Bandra, skimmed by the accused, that the cops got their first clue. In the footage, they spotted the trio carrying Marks and Spencer bags. They immediately contacted the retailer’s Bandra outlet and managed to collect necessary information about the accused.
“We learnt that the accused had purchased innerwear from the Bandra outlet and were Loyalty Card holders. This gave us access to their phone numbers. We traced their address after scrutinising their Call Detail Record and nabbed them from their residence on Sunday. They paid R50,000 as rent,” said Senior Inspector Praveen More from VB Nagar police station.
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The police recovered Rs 28.58 lakh in cash, 498 debit cards, laptops, SIM cards and skimmers, among others, collectively worth Rs 31.34 lakh. They used these gadgets to commit the crimes. All three have been booked under Sections 465 (forgery), 467 (forgery of valuable security, will, etc), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged 1[document or electronic record]), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the IPC. They were produced in the Kurla Court yesterday and were remanded in police custody till October 13.