Three charged in connection with stolen debit card spending spree

Three Romanians have been charged in connection with an alleged €40,000 shopping spree with a Laser card stolen from a woman’s handbag.

Gardai revealed husband and wife, Costin and Constanta Colciu, were arrested at Dublin Airport on Monday as they were about to board a flight to Amsterdam.

A third man, Catalin Tatarsanu Miron, was later arrested at an address in Tallaght.

Gardaí have claimed a gang operated a so-called shoulder surfing scam – mostly targeting an older woman – by taking note of the shopper’s PIN number at supermarket checkouts as they paid for goods.

“They then approach their target in the supermarket car park and cause a distraction while an accomplice steals the card from the lady’s handbag,” said a garda spokesman.

“Incidents of this nature have been reported at various locations around the country.”

Some €40,000 was spent on one card which was stolen in Co Leitrim over a four-day period.

Detectives maintain 130 fraudulent transactions were made, with 84 pieces of CCTV from numerous locations secured and the users of the card recorded.

It is understood officers tracked the movements of Mr Colciu (aged 45) and his 35-year-old wife, when plane tickets were purchased on a card which had been reported stolen.

The couple, who lived at Ashfield Avenue, Kingswood Heights, Tallaght, appeared before Blanchardstown District Court on Tuesday on theft and fraud charges and were remanded in custody.

They are due to again appear in court later in the month.

Mr Miron, who is in his late 40s, was also charged by gardaí in Santry and released on bail to appear at Tallaght District Court on December 14.

A Garda spokesman said that since the beginning of October the cheque and payment card unit at the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation has been targeting criminals involved in the theft and use of payment cards from primarily female victims all around the country.


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