A Queens man suspected of placing ATM skimming devices in more than 20 locations across Long Island was in custody Thursday after police arrested him when he went to retrieve one of the skimmers, Southampton Town police said.
Gabriel Olaru, 30, who also is known as Nicolas Moga, was charged with criminal possession of forgery devices and unlawful possession of a skimming device, police said. The devices are used to capture identities and personal banking information.
Olaru, a native of Romania, appeared in Southampton Town Justice Court Thursday, police said. His visa had expired and an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer has been issued for him, according to Southampton police Lt. Susan Ralph. Olaru pleaded not guilty and was ordered held on $50,000 cash bail or $150,000 bond, Ralph said. Attorney information was not immediately available Thursday.
According to police, Southampton Town detectives were called to a 7-Eleven on Flanders Road in Flanders about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday to investigate a possible skimming device attached to an ATM.
Police said they found the device and arrested Olaru later Tuesday when he returned to the store to retrieve it. A subsequent investigation linked Olaru to other skimming scams on Long Island, including at 7-Elevens in Montauk and Southampton Village.
Ralph said the investigation is ongoing and that multiple agencies in addition to Southampton Town and village police are part of the probe, including the FBI and other authorities from Nassau and Suffolk counties and the NYPD.
Additional charges are expected to be filed against Olaru once the investigation is completed, police said. Ralph said Southampton police suspect Olaru may also be associated with a skimming ring in Michigan.
Nassau, Suffolk and the NYPD referred questions to Southampton Town police.
Anyone with information regarding the Flanders case is requested to contact Southampton Town police detectives at 631-702-2230.