Two arrested over ATM scam after gang nets €200,000
Gardai have smashed a criminal operation behind a scam at ATM machines in several counties.
Officers believe the gang has netted in the region of €200,000 since the scam was launched last year.
The fraudsters are suspected of being involved in incidents at 40 cash dispensers in the past few months.
Investigators disclosed last night that the full extent of the scams has not been collated, and they were still trying to establish how many similar frauds could be linked to the gang.
One senior officer said initial estimates suggested that the crooks got away with around €200,000, although he acknowledged that the final sum could be higher.
A special garda operation, codenamed Glint, was put into place by the authorities.
Led by a detective superintendent, it involved investigators from Dublin South Central division, the National Bureau of Fraud Investigation and officers from Naas.
As a result of surveillance placed on a number of suspects, armed officers intercepted a car at Sallins Road, Naas on Wednesday night and arrested two men from Moldova.
The arrests followed an earlier scam in the town at an ATM outside the Ulster Bank premises in Main Street.
During a search, gardai recovered a tool, known as a cash claw, that is used by fraudsters to prevent cash being dispensed to unsuspecting customers at targeted ATMs.
Gardai also found a screwdriver and latex gloves and seized a vehicle.
The two Moldovans, both aged in their 30s, were taken to Naas garda station and questioned under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.
Gardai believe the scam in Naas is linked to a series of similar incidents in Dublin.
The scam was carried out by inserting the claw into the cash drawer at an ATM. This prevented the money from being dispensed when a customer keyed in their card details and the amount they wanted.
The fraudsters watched from a nearby car and waited until several customers had fallen victim to the scam. They then removed the claw and the cash trapped inside spewed out.
The gang is also suspected of being involved in a number of "distraction" thefts at ATMs where one of the criminals drops a €10 note on the ground and claims it belongs to the person withdrawing money.
While the person is bending down to pick up the money an accomplice removes the card from the ATM and memorises the pin number.
The fraudsters then move to the next ATM and withdraw the maximum amount of cash with the stolen card.