SUNNY ISLES BEACH, Fla. - Police are trying to figure out who is installing credit card skimmers at several Publix supermarkets throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
Most recently, a skimmer was found on the ATM outside the Publix on 8160 Wiles Road in Coral Springs on Saturday, according to police. A store employee found the device.
Coral Springs police also said another skimmer was found on an ATM outside the Publix on 5950 Coral Ridge Drive on Friday afternoon. A customer noticed the skimmer and notified the store's management. Both skimmers were turned over to police.
"We are choosing to be proactive in combating this issue by working closely with local law enforcement and training managers to check the ATM machines routinely. We train our managers to inspect the ATM's to detect suspicious equipment or add-on devices that may be attached to the ATM or the area around it," said Kim Reynolds, Publix spokesperson.
It's also important to note that while we've seen increased activity in our stores locally within in the last month, this issue is not Publix specific and something that affects the retail industry as a whole.
Police are relying on surveillance video to find the person or people behind the scheme.
Another device was also installed on the ATM at the Publix at 18330 Collins Avenue.
Surveillance video showed a woman installing the device on August 5. It was removed on August 10.
"As you can see, she kind of uses her purse to disguise what she's doing," said Luke Plesa with Sunny Isles Beach police.
She walked away a few minutes later, and an accomplice then examined her work.
"He's just pushing on the device making sure it's stuck on there good," said Plesa. "This is made to look like the debit card slot at an ATM."
The credit card skimmer is attached to the real ATM slot and then steals credit card information. But the thieves still need a user's pin number.
"It's just a cellphone battery, mini camera, and device that stores the data," said Plesa.
The camera is attached directly over the keypad.
Days later, surveillance video showed the duo was back to retrieve the data with a USB.
"They'll use expired gift cards or something with a magnetic strip, you know, similar to an ATM card, and they just have to load that information on the magnetic strip and they have your pin so, they clone your card and they'd be able to go to any ATM to withdraw the money," said Plesa.
Sunny Isles Beach police detectives were working with Sea Ranch Lakes police detectives after a credit card skimmer was found at a Publix there. Skimmers have also been found in Boynton Beach. Police believe it may be the same person installing the skimmers.
Police hoped the surveillance video would help them identify the suspect.
Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477 or Sunny Isles Beach police at 305-947-4440.
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