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True Crime May 26, 2004

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SKIM SCAMMER SCORES SCRATCH

Boise Police Detectives are investigating 38 cases of ATM "Skimming" at downtown Boise banks, resulting in over $100,000 in losses to victims. Two U.S. Bank branches—one located at 10th and Bannock, the other at 17th and State—have confirmed that between May 8 and 10, innocuous-looking devices were attached to the front of ATMs to scan account numbers from patrons, as well as cameras to record the Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) each patron entered. This information was then used to remotely withdraw funds from the accounts from locales such as Sacramento and Reno.

"It used to be that we had to look over our shoulder for someone trying to get our PIN numbers," explained Police Chief Jim Tibbs. "Now we need to be aware of electronic devices that can capture our account information."

While relatively unsophisticated technologically, a skimmer looks nearly identical to the card-entry slot of the ATM itself, so victims are usually unaware of their violation until long after funds have been withdrawn. Police have no suspects at this time but bank investigators and the Secret Service are also investigating the case. Tibbs advises bank patrons to keep a close watch on bank statements and to cover the keypad when entering a PIN.

TAILGATE THIEF CAN'T COVER TAIL

Boise Police recovered 27 stolen truck tailgates worth more than $40,000 on May 12 after following a suspect to a storage unit in West Boise. Travis B. Brawley, 28, faces charges of grand theft after he allegedly stole tailgates from new pickup trucks at several local dealerships. The tailgates, which retail for approximately $1,400 each, were then sold on Ebay for about $300. Officers found several of the tailgates already packaged and ready for shipment to Internet buyers.

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