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Garda probe Two men arrested for suspected ATM tampering only arrived in Ireland last week

One of the suspects has convictions for major theft offences in Russia and Moldova.

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Detectives believe that two men who were arrested after they were discovered acting suspiciously at an ATM in west Dublin on Wednesday evening may have travelled into the country to commit a financial crime spree.

The duo who are aged in their late 20s and mid 30s are understood to be Moldovan nationals who only arrived in Ireland last week.

Gardai have not yet established where they had been living after arriving in this country.

One of the suspects has convictions for major theft offences in Russia and Moldova and gardai are trying to establish if the duo are working for a major international organised crime gang.

Gardai announced details of the arrest operation today.

“Gardaí in Ballyfermot arrested two men following an incident in Palmerstown Village yesterday evening, Wednesday 24th February 2021,” a spokeswoman said.

“At approximately 6.30pm Gardaí observed two men, aged in their late 20s and mid 30s, behaving suspiciously at an ATM on the Old Lucan Road.

"Gardaí proceeded to search the men and the vehicle they were travelling in. Items, known as skimming devices, were seized during the search.

“Both men were arrested and taken to Clondalkin Garda Station where they are currently detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984.

“Gardaí in Clondalkin are liaising with the Gardaí from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) during this ongoing investigation,” she added.

It is understood that officers have observed damage to the bank machine that the men were allegedly interfering with.

The arrests in west Dublin yesterday are the first made by gardai in relation to skimming since two suspects were arrested in a different case in last February.

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Skimming involves criminals placing devices in ATM’s which scan the details of a person’s ATM card when it is placed into a machine.

Once installed, they are used to record data and PIN numbers from people's cards at the ATM.

The criminals then use the information from cloned cards to withdraw cash at different locations.

Officers are probing whether €80 in “very crisp notes” seized from one of the men detained in Clondalkin Garda Station is a result of skimming.

Last November at Romanian father-of-two pleaded guilty to stealing more than €120,000 from ATM machines, using cloned cards in a sophisticated operation in which bank machines in several counties were targeted over a five-month period.

Danile Munteanu (31) was arrested at the Co Meath address where he lived in March, 2019, after a GNECB surveillance operation.

He is due to be sentenced next month.

Trim Circuit Criminal Court heard that hundreds of transactions where cloned cards had been used to withdraw money from the accounts of innocent Bank of Ireland customers were carried out in counties including Monaghan, Louth, Meath, Westmeath, Galway, Kildare, Wicklow and Dublin.

Some customers had their entire accounts cleared out as amounts of up to €700 at a time were withdrawn without their knowledge.

They included juveniles and people in their 80s, and one person had more than €7,000 stolen from their account.

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