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Columbus police search for card skimming suspect

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-530-7151.

Posted: Jan 30, 2019 8:01 AM
Updated: Jan 30, 2019 4:59 PM

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) - Police are searching for a man accused of withdrawing cash from three Columbus bank ATMs during the weekend using forged ATM cards.

Police Chief Fred Shelton said more than a dozen transactions totaling more than $1,000 are believed to have occurred with the same individual this past weekend.

Photo: Columbus Police Department

Police released video of the suspect as he came to a Columbus bank ATM on a bicycle at 7:22 a.m. Sunday morning.

Police would not identify the bank.

At 5 p.m. Wednesday, Columbus police released the following statement.

"The ATM shown in the video released today is not the ATM where cards were skimmed. The ATM shown in the video is where the suspect withdrew the cash, not where the card numbers were stolen from. The case is still under investigation," said Shelton.

"We believe this is a clear case of a suspect cloning ATM cards and then using those cards to withdraw money on those accounts tied to that card," Shelton said. "We have some evidence that a device was placed on a local ATM that copies the information from the cards and then the suspect uses that information to make fake duplicate ATM cards."

The process is known as "ATM skimming."

"There is a small camera to capture ATM pin numbers and then the card itself has the magnetic stripe with the account information on it that is copied," Shelton added. "It is very sophisticated and difficult to spot since the equipment is mounted directly on an ATM. We have alerted banks in the area to check their machines, but we also want the public to be aware. In these cases, the ATM card was copied, so customers still have their original card. The copy was used, the card was not lost."

Shelton is asking for help identifying the suspect in the video.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-530-7151.

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