ATM Theft Raises Alarm after Card Copier Found

Police are looking for a man who tapped into people's bank accounts in November via a Chase Bank ATM at 250 W. State Street.

The man placed a card reader over the top of the slot where bank customers put their cards into the ATM, Police Department spokesman Sgt. Don Kelly said.

The card reader captures a person's banking information from the magnetic strip on the back of the bank card, Kelly said.

The device attached to the ATM on West State Street was equipped with a camera to capture people punching in their personal identification numbers, he said.

Police think the card reader was most recently placed on the ATM about 6:40 p.m. Nov. 29, Kelly said.

The device was removed about an hour after a customer noticed it.

Several people called police, saying unauthorized withdrawals had been made from their accounts on Nov. 29, Kelly said.

Police also think the device was put on the same ATM on Nov. 17 and that it copied information about people's bank accounts, Kelly said.

Unauthorized withdrawals also are suspected on Nov. 17.

"If you were not familiar with that particular ATM or Chase ATMs, you probably wouldn't notice this thing," Kelly said. "It blended in pretty well with the existing card reader."

Paying attention to the slot where you put your card and looking for anything unusual is important, Kelly added.

"Take a look at it every time," he said. "That's good protection right there."

Although police confiscated the card reader at the ATM on West State Street, Kelly said, the man who installed it remained on the loose Tuesday.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Police Department's Computer Crimes Division at (225) 389-8362 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867.


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