Nahuli Na! 3 Romanians Suspek Sa ATM Skimming

CEBU CITY – Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7) arrested three Romanian nationals suspected of having a hand in the series of unauthorized withdrawals from the automated teller machines of the Land Bank of the Philippines.
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The suspects were taken into custody from a newly-constructed condominium in Barangay Kamputhaw, Cebu City on Friday morning after agents.

NBI-7 Special Investigator Arnel Pura said they were able to secure a search warrant from the court to enter the condominium of the suspects.

NBI-7 found the Romanians’ facial features matched those of individuals recorded by CCTV cameras installing skimming devices at a Land Bank ATM in Barangay Banilad, Cebu City.

As of 7 p.m. on Friday, details about the whereabouts of the suspects remained sketchy because the agents, led by NBI-7 Assistant Director Dominador Cimafranca, were still in the condominium with the suspects.

The media were not allowed to enter the condo by its security guards as requested by the management.

In a statement, Land Bank said it was closely coordinating with the NBI to address the unauthorized withdrawals of its ATMs which had victimized at least 50 government officials and employees.

Investigation showed that a skimming device was installed in an ATM of a Land Bank branch in Mandaue City. It was removed after the bank management discovered it.

Traces of skimming were also detected in a Land Bank ATM in Barangay Banilad, Cebu City.

As a precautionary measure, Land Bank said it blocked over 2,000 accounts. Account holders were also advised to visit their branches to reset their personal identification numbers.

“Land Bank assures its clients that these are isolated incidents and that the bank is working closely with the NBI to resolve the issue,” the government bank said.

Senior Supt. Joel Doria, director of the Cebu City Police Office, said at least 15 lf its police officers were victims of the skimming. Nine of them are assigned at the police station in Barangay Talamban, including its chief, Senior Insp. Arieza Otida.

Doria said a foreign-looking man was behind the skimming incidents last year, based on the CCTV footage presented to them by Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak, who was also a victim.

However, they had a hard time pursuing the suspect because the bank refused to cooperate.

But Land Bank asked the NBI to investigate and provided the agency with CCTV footage of the ATM machines to the NBI. /atm

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