Two Romanian nationals charged last month with planting skimming devices at Sam’s Club stores in Allegheny and Butler counties were charged this week with targeting a store in Washington County.
South Strabane Police have filed multiple criminal charges against Colceag Constantin, 41, and Raul-Mihani Cojucaru, 40, after a slotted spoon was found on an automatic cash register at Sam’s Club in Trinity Point Shopping Plaza.
According to Det. of the township. Kenneth Torboli, the skimmer was discovered by store staff on May 20 after going unnoticed for nearly four days.
Torboli said in court papers that May 16 store video surveillance showed the men installing the device at the register. Torboli said during the investigation he consulted with Frazer police who initially arrested the couple.
Frazer police arrested the men on May 20 for installing a skimming device in a self-checkout lane at the Sam’s Club store in Pittsburgh Mills.
They have been held in the Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh since their arrest after failing to post $25,000 bond each.
According to online filings, Constantin and Cojucaru waived their right to a preliminary hearing Monday before Cheswick District Judge David Sosovicka in the Frazer case and will be tried in a common pleas court.
Since the initial arrest, online records indicate the pair were charged by Monroeville police with installing a skimming device on a gas pump at the Sam’s Club store on William Penn Highway and Ohio Township accused them of installing a skimming device at the Sam’s Club store on Mount Nebo Pointe Drive.
Butler Township police told the Tribune-Review last month they believe the couple also installed a confiscated skimmer on May 23 at the Sam’s Club store in Moraine Pointe Plaza. Police say the men were captured on store video installing the device before their arrest in Frazer.
However, online records indicate that no criminal charges have been filed in this case.
Police also said they discovered several electronic devices, including a laptop, passports and fake IDs during the investigation.
According to police, the skimmers are designed to look like a regular store credit card reader. They are placed above the existing card reader to capture and store credit or debit card information so that it can later be retrieved by thieves and used to make illegal purchases.
Police warned customers who frequented any of the targeted locations to check their bank and credit card accounts for any irregular activity.
In June 2018, Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation making possession of a card skimmer a crime.
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