The Santander branch in Little Silver was one of numerous branches impacted by the scheme Tuesday. (redbankgreen photo. Click to enlarge.)
By JOHN T. WARD
Little Silver police made seven arrests Tuesday in what authorities allege was a brazen, multistate attempt by more than 100 suspects to exploit a flaw in the ATM system at Santander Bank branches.
Little Silver police, responding to a 9:02 a.m. report of suspicious activity around the Santander branch on Sycamore Avenue, saw one vehicle leaving the area at a high rate of speed and another still in the parking lot, Detective Sergeant Greg Oliva told redbankgreen.
Police stopped the moving vehicle about a block away, at the cul-de-sac end of Hickory Lane, where two of the three occupants fled on foot into nearby woods, Oliva said.
They were apprehended without incident about 15 minutes later, he said.
The occupants of a second vehicle at the bank were also arrested. And while police were clearing the scene, an officer saw a third vehicle arrive and park in the handicapped parking spot, Oliva said.
“So he swung back” to check on a possible parking violation and found the occupants of that vehicle, too, appeared to be making illegal ATM withdrawals, said Oliva.
Arrested and held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution pending a detention hearing were Briana Aviles, 22, of Newark; Zamir Knox, 21, of Union; Martin Rosendary, 24, of Union; Markeem Jackson, 36, of Brooklyn; Giovanni Tyrell, 24, of Teaneck; Wayne Hill, 22, of Brooklyn; and Raim Duplessis, 23, of Newark.
Each was charged with credit card theft, theft, receiving stolen property, fraudulent use of credit cards, obstructing administration of law, possession of a controlled dangerous substance and conspiracy.
Little Silver police seized a total of approximately $11,000 in cash as well as a 2014 BMW, Oliva said.
The suspects were among “at least 100” arrested by police across New Jersey Tuesday, according to a report Thursday by NJ.com.
From the report:
The robberies occurred after instructions were shared on social media revealing how to fraudulently obtain money from Santander ATMs, according to authorities.
Three law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation told NJ Advance Media the thieves discovered a glitch in the Santander system that would allow continuous withdraws of cash from prepaid debit cards, like a Green Dot Card, purchased at a convenience store.
Santander closed down the ATMs immediately after learning of the suspicious activity, a bank spokesperson said in a statement. The ATMs have since been reopened, but are available only to Santander customers.
The New York Post reported on a video that provided instructions on how to hack the machines to spit out cash.
“The robberies started early in the morning and continued throughout the afternoon, sending police in multiple counties on a frenzy to arrest groups of people lined up at some ATMs,” NJ.com reported.
Some of those arrested were in groups as large as 20 people, according to the report.
At least 10 of the arrests were made in Monmouth County, NJ.com reported, citing unnamed authorities and sources.
In Holmdel, police arrested a Brooklyn man after police saw him “attempting to fraudulently withdraw cash from the ATM with a fake debit card,” according a posting on the department’s Facebook page. “He was also found to be in possession of numerous ATM cards in other individual’s names,” the post said.
Arrests were also made in Staten Island and Connecticut, according to NJ.com.
Santander said its customers’ accounts were not breached, according to News4.
Little Silver police were assisted in their arrests by cops from Shrewsbury, Fair Haven and the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, Oliva said.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, the FBI and the Secret Service are investigating, he said.
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