Five cash machine criminals have been sentenced to a total of 71 months’ imprisonment as a result of an operation led by the banking industry-sponsored police squad, the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU).
The criminal gang involved were stealing money from ATMs through the use of a device known as a ‘cash claw’. When this device was fitted to a machine it prevented cash from being dispensed to customers. The criminal gang would then return to the machine and remove the device along with the non-dispensed cash.
The successful three-month operation involved officers and bank staff from the Unit identifying the gang members by analysing crime patterns and establishing routes the organised criminal networks were using.
Adrian Niculita, Andrei Chioran, Iancu Oleacu, Ciprian Dumitru and Violeta Alecu were all found guilty of Conspiracy to Steal and Possession of Articles Used to Commit Theft, and were sentenced at the Old Bailey on 8 November.
DC Martin Godsave, the DCPCU officer in charge of this case, commented:
“Putting this gang behind bars will undoubtedly lead to a significant decrease in this type of crime, and should help drive down cash machine crime losses, which fell by three per cent in the first half of this year. Officers from the DCPCU worked in tandem with bank investigators on this operation and quickly accumulated overwhelming evidence, which led to the arrest and imprisonment of those responsible.”
The DCPCU, which is a specialist police unit sponsored by the banks to investigate serious and organised payment fraud, is working with the industry to stamp out organised card and cheque fraud across the UK. The Unit comprises officers from the City of London and Metropolitan police forces working alongside bank investigators and case support staff.