Fraud suspects arrested at airport

TWO members of a Romanian gang were arrested as they were about to board a flight out of Dublin Airport by detectives investigating a major ATM card scam.

Officers from the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation (GBFI) also arrested a third Romanian national in Tallaght, west Dublin.

The arrests were the culmination of a dedicated operation set up last October against the background of a rise in the theft and use of bank cards. The criminals specifically targeted older women in the scam.

“Since the beginning of October 2009 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 over the country,” said a Garda spokesman.

“The gang operated by ‘shoulder surfing’, most usually an older woman, at supermarket checkouts and noting their PIN number when paying for goods,” said the Garda spokesman.

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

He said: “One Laser card stolen in Co Leitrim went unnoticed by the injured party for a number of days allowing the criminals to spend €40,000 on the card countrywide.

“There were 130 fraudulent transactions in four days recorded on this particular card. Approximately 84 pieces of CCTV from numerous locations has been secured and the users of card recorded.”

He said the operation led to the arrest of a 38 year-old woman and a 45-year-old man last Monday in Dublin Airport “as they were about to leave for Amsterdam”. He said they were detained at Ballymun Garda Station and charged the following day. They appeared before Blanchardstown District Court and remanded in custody. They are due to appear at Blanchardstown district court this month.

The spokesman said a third person, a man, was arrested in Tallaght and detained at Santry Garda Station. He was later charged and released on bail to appear at Tallaght district court next Monday. The spokesman said all three people are Romanian nationals.


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