Police make arrest in ATM fraud case

Suspect thought to be part of larger card-skimming group

Police  make arrest in ATM fraud caseBy BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

Officers of the Ridgecrest Police Department arrested Edward William Tone, 34, a Romanian national, last week as a suspect in recent “card skimming” and ATM fraud activity.

Last month, Inyo County law-enforcement officials found and removed card skimmers from a gas station at Coso Junction.

These card readers can be illegally installed at gas station pumps or ATMs to wirelessly transmit credit card information into the hands of criminals.

After reports from residents of skimming concerns at local gas stations, RPD sent out a press release warning about the fraud practice (ridgecrest-ca.gov/files?folder= PD/Press_Releases/2019).

According to a police report, RPD detectives arrived at Desert Valleys Federal Credit Union after employees alerted the department of a possible fraud in progress on March 11.

Detectives detained a suspect, later identified as Tone, withdrawing money from the ATM using forged bank cards.

Tone was reportedly found in possession of forged bank cards and tools for opening gas station pumps and installing skimmers and more than $2,300 in suspected fraudulently obtained currency.

He was arrested and booked in the Kern County Central Receiving Facility. He is being held without bail.

Law-enforcement officials believe Tone is part of a larger group responsible for skimmers and other instances of ATM fraud in the Ridgecrest area.

“Remember to always be on the lookout for suspicious activity at and around your gas pumps and ATMs,” said the release.

“If you see any suspicious activity, don’t hesitate to call the Ridgecrest Police Department at 760-499-5100.”

Tone is facing felony charges of second-degree burglary, fraudulent use of access card for more than $400, altering a vehicle ID number and a misdemeanor charge for possession of burglary tools.

His preliminary hearing was March 21 in Ridgecrest. Further details were not available at press time.

Story First Published: 2019-03-22