ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. — UPDATE 6/1/22: A spokesman for Target reached out to Channel 11 and said they checked all of their equipment and reviewed surveillance footage and were able to determine that no skimming devices were planted in their West Mifflin store. Last week, West Mifflin police suggested that the Romanian nationals accused of planting skimming devices at stores in four other communities in Allegheny and Butler Counties may have been at the Target store in West Mifflin. But a spokesman for the company said today they found no evidence that the men ever visited their store.
Target 11 Investigator Rick Earle has now confirmed with more police departments in the Pittsburgh area that those credit card skimming devices were found at more stores in Allegheny and Butler counties.
In addition to the first skimmer found in the self-checkout aisle of the Sam’s Club in Frazer Township, Allegheny County, skimming devices were also discovered inside the Sam’s Club at Mt. Nebo Pointe in Ohio Township, Allegheny County, inside another Sam’s at Moraine Pointe Plaza in Butler Township, Butler County, and on a gas pump at the Sam’s Club gas station in Monroeville. West Mifflin police also said they were made aware of skimming devices possibly being placed at the self-checkout lines at the West Mifflin Sam’s Club and Target, as well as at the self-pay tables at the Applebee’s restaurant.
Last Thursday, a Sam’s Club employee in Frazer Township found the device on the self-checkout aisle and alerted police.
The device snaps right on top of the real scanner and records credit and debit card transactions. The device is able to then transmit the data via bluetooth technology.
Using surveillance images from the Sam’s Club in Frazer and license plate readers throughout Allegheny County, police later stopped the vehicle and apprehended two suspects. Investigators charged two Romanian nationals with access device fraud.
Both are in the Allegheny County jail on $25,000 bond awaiting a preliminary hearing.
Investigators said they believe the men came to the Pittsburgh region about two weeks ago, after entering the country from Canada and flying from Seattle to New York City. The men, according to police, rented a car in New Jersey and drove to Pittsburgh. They had recently been staying at a hotel on McKnight Road in Ross Township. Ross Township police said they had not discovered any skimming devices at stores in their community, but as of Monday said they were still working with stores in their area.
Over the weekend, police executed a search warrant at the Ross Township hotel and found a laptop along with other electronic devices, passports and fake identifications.
Ohio Township police tell Target 11 they have filed additional charges of access device fraud against the two suspects.
Monroeville and Butler Township police said they are in the process of filing charges as well.
Police said the skimming devices could be at other stores throughout the region. Tonight, investigators are warning customers who frequented those locations during the past week or so to check their bank and credit card accounts for any irregular activity.
©2022 Cox Media Group