Gardaí arrest gang 'kingpin' over €300k card skimming scam
Gardaí have arrested a man who they believe is a "kingpin" in an organised crime gang that specialises in a nationwide ATM skimming scam.
The suspect (39), from Romania, was still being questioned along with his older associate (48) at Navan garda station last night, after their arrests in a planned dawn raid at a house in the Slane Road area of the Co Meath town yesterday.
Large amounts of illegal skimming paraphernalia were seized in the raid, which has been described as "extremely significant". The Europe-wide investigation was led by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, which worked with police agency Europol and local gardaí from Navan in the lengthy probe.
Both suspects are being questioned under anti-gangland legislation and gardaí suspect that they are part of a mob that carried out more than 550 ATM skimming crimes in Ireland last year alone, netting the gang almost €300,000.
A senior source revealed that detectives pounced on the suspects after receiving key information that they were back in Ireland after spending a number of months outside the country.
The 39-year-old suspect, who was the main target of the Garda probe, has been linked by CCTV to at least 60 ATM skimming crimes last year in counties Dublin, Wicklow, Kildare and Meath, while his 48-year-old associate has previous convictions for similar crimes in Germany and France.
A Garda spokeswoman said: "Gardaí seized equipment for ATM skimming, including a fake ATM front, hard drives, receiving devices, soldering equipment, laptops, about 500 blank cards to be used for storing data copied at ATMs, satnavs, pinhole cameras, skimming devices and various skimming paraphernalia."