The owners of a Nanaimo restaurant are warning the public after a thief stole their debit machine, draining nearly $1,000 from their bank account.
Surveillance footage released by MGM Restaurant shows the suspect entering the establishment just as it was closing, ordering a beer and poutine and then stealing the debit machine while staff members were busy.
The suspect then returned to his car for 20 minutes before coming back to the restaurant, now closed, and using the stolen machine to make several fraudulent refunds.
“He had come to the restaurant in the middle of the night when people weren’t here to connect to our terminal base and he was just collecting refund after refund after refund, about a dozen of them, pulling money out of our chequing account,” said restaurant co-owner Tricia Samaroo.
“In that 24 hours we didn’t know that the machine had been stolen,” sje added.
Samaroo says she’s “a little perturbed” that the money was stolen but is primarily concerned about seeing that it doesn’t happen again to other unsuspecting businesses in the Nanaimo area.
“More than anything I wanted to inform the public that this can happen and that there are people looking to do this,” she said. “My mom did say that he had a vibe about him, that something was off, and she tries not to judge anybody so she didn’t treat him any differently than she would anyone else.”
Nanaimo RCMP Constable Gary O’Brien said that PIN pad frauds have been on the decline but thieves usually follow a common pattern.
“At some point, they would go back to the business, replace it with the original and they would take that data and download it to a program where they capture all the PIN information that was provided by customers,” said O’Brien.
He advises businesses to take preventative measures such as securing the PIN pad in a secure case.
The suspect was last seen wearing a Supreme sweatshirt and leaving in what was possible a Dodge Avenger.
Samaroo says the restaurant is going to be more vigilant about protecting their PIN pads.
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