GREENFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — A multi-state credit card fraud operation may have come to an end. Hancock County deputies arrested three people on fraud charges after a traffic stop along I-70. That traffic stop happened last Thursday.
Deputies and troopers with Indiana State Police found more than 300 pieces of evidence in two cars driven by the suspects. The evidence includes skimming devices, credit cards, laptops, and materials to make additional skimming devices.
Deputies say the two cars were observed driving together, and quickly left I-70 when they saw law enforcement. The same two cars were noticed again on I-70 a short time later, and were pulled over on violations for following too close.
Authorities say 26-year-old Conte Nistor was the driver of one car. A 15-year-old was driving the second car, where officials say 19-year-old Mihai Marian was a passenger. All three are from Romania.
The 15-year-old initially provided false identification.
Officials say they got consent to search both cars and found evidence in both cars connecting the three to credit card skimming operations in Indiana, Ohio, Colorado, California, and Tennessee.
“We are fortunate that our sheriff’s department is on top of it and was able to collect them and get them off the street,” said Hancock County resident Dave McKinley.
He and others in Hancock County say they’re aware of credit card skimming operations and take extra steps to protect themselves.
“It can happen anywhere any time,” said Paula Edwards. “Look at your credit cards frequently, or balances, the charges that have happened.”
“When I check gas pumps and everything, I just watch look around see if there’s anything looking suspicious,” said another resident, James Sanders.
The skimmers in this case had the capability to obtain video and capture data from the magnetic strip on credit cards. They were powered by cell phone batteries.
And although these specific devices may be off the street, residents say they’re still going to be cautious with their cards.
This investigation is far from over. Officials say the Indianapolis District Office for the United States Secret Service is assisting as they work to analyze “massive amounts of evidence.”
All three suspects face charges of fraud on a financial institution and possession of a card-skimming device. The juvenile was taken into custody and was detained at the Delaware County juvenile detention center in Muncie. Marian and Nistor were taken to the Hancock County Jail in Greenfield.