Man accused of using flash drives to steal money from multiple businesses

Police: Vasile Gabriel gained access to computers, illegally transferred money

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, Glenna Milberg - Reporter

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - A man is facing multiple charges after he used flash drives to steal money from multiple businesses in Miami-Dade County, authorities said.

Police said the first incident occurred April 3 at Vega Express/Western Union, which is located at 1199 W. Flagler St.

According to authorities, a man, later identified as Vasile Gabriel Savu, of Romania, 42, walked into the business, asked for printing services for an airline itinerary and handed the clerk a USB drive, which the clerk placed into a computer. 

Police said the clerk handed the documents and USB back to Savu and he left the business after paying a fee for the services.

Two days later, the manager noticed the computer screen had turned blue and the cursor on the screen was moving on its own, as though someone had gained unauthorized remote access.

The manager later discovered that $13,000 in unauthorized wire transfers had been conducted remotely and unknown malware was placed into the system, authorities said.

Savu was arrested April 10 by Opa-locka police after they went to a Western Union in the Top Value Supermarket at 13931 NW 27th Ave. in reference to a fraud in process.

According to police, Savu was again trying to have documents printed from a USB.

The owner, who also happens to own several other Western Union stores, notified police due to the same suspect trying to perform the same transaction at another location, causing his business to be defrauded out of $32,000.

Police said the suspect’s identity was verified through his Romanian passport.

Authorities said the manager of Vega Express handed over his computer to the Miami Police Department for further investigation.

Authorities said they identified Savu as the suspect in that case through surveillance video.

Savu remains in custody at the Metrowest Detention Center.

He faces numerous charges, including grand theft, intellectual property offense, fraudulent use of identification and offenses against computer users. 

Managers at the locations allegedly targeted by Savu are working with the Secret Service as some of the charges against Savu are federal crimes.

Savu was ordered by a Miami-Dade County judge to surrender his passport. He also has an immigration hold against him. 


 

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