H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Jan 20, 2011 1:21 AM by Danielle Lerner

Three people arrested in connection with credit card skimming operation at local ATMs

Three out-of-towners are behind bars, accused of stealing credit card information from ATM users in San Luis Obispo County.

On January 13, officers in San Luis Obispo received word about a credit card skimming operation at the Chase Bank on Madonna Road. The information of at least 100 credit cards was stolen and the suspects withdrew $58,000 in cash. A few days later another ATM machine was compromised in Atascadero .

We have heard about skimming devices at gas stations, but ATM machines? Officers say that is exactly what was inside a Chase Bank ATM on Madonna Road in San Luis Obispo.

"You have to swipe it after hours so I'm not sure how they got in there," said Eric Anderson, a Chase customer. "They must have had a Chase debit card somehow."

"You just go up and you swipe thinking you can get in and you don't realize people are taking your info," said Chris Britton, an ATM user. "I guess they're coming up with new creative ways so you just got be more careful."

Officers used video images and surveillance to track down three suspects, all from Southern California. Detectives found skimmer devices, cloned credit cards and $20,000 in cash in the suspects' motel room.

Thirty-five-year-old Santiago Alcantar and 37-year-old Genea Antoine were also linked to the skimming device found at a Chase ATM in Atascadero.

"That's awful," said Anderson. "I had my identity stolen through probably a similar process and I don't know, they got to figure out a way to protect our numbers."

Back in December officers arrested two other people on skimming charges at the same locations and they believe this operation extends far beyond our area. Officers are heading to Southern California Thursday morning to gather more information about their investigation. Investigators say they are still searching for suspects and they hope to make more arrests in the near future.

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