Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Lower Providence

Criminals Opt for Hotel Lodging rather than my Bed & Breakfast!

Last week, I had a call from a Lower Providence police detective. The detective gave me a list of five names and explained that the police were working on an ATM banking fraud case. Apparently, one of these individuals had rented a car and had my bed and breakfast, telephone number and address programmed in to the car’s GPS system. Although provided with limited details of the police investigation, (I now understand why) I checked my September – December 2010 guests database and reported that no one using any of those names had stayed at the Great Valley House.

You can imagine my surprise when I was listening to the evening news last night and hear the report that Lower Providence police have busted a robbery ring that relied on hi-tech devices and ATM machines and arrested five men. I went to the network’s website and tracked down the names of the five men arrested — Dimitar Tanchev, Dragomir Lipov, Ismail Misankov, Dimcho Vasilev and Krasimir Uzunov. I knew it was probably more than coincidental and yes, they were the same names.

According to the news, these Bulgarian nationals operated out of a Norristown hotel. The men installed high-tech scanning devices in ATMs throughout Montgomery and Chester Counties, using information on the back of customers’ cards to steal nearly $135,000, from at least 143 victims. During the arrest, police found skimming devices in the hotel. Upon further investigation, they found similar equipment in their rental car, a storage locker and in a Chester County hotel room. Thank goodness for me, the criminals preferred lodging choice was a hotel rather than a reservation at my bed and breakfast!

These men face a laundry list of charges including theft by deception, identity theft and criminal conspiracy

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