HomeNewsIsland & CoastLocal Nanaimo restaurant seeks to identify alleged ATM machine thief

Local Nanaimo restaurant seeks to identify alleged ATM machine thief

A local Nanaimo restaurant is asking residents to inform RCMP if they know who allegedly stole their machine.

On January 8th at around 8:20pm, a man entered the MGM Restaurant and had a meal. After being given the ATM machine to pay, he allegedly took it and went into his car. Restaurant owner Tricia Samaroo says this was caught on camera, and he stayed in his car for around 20 minutes, doing something.

“He then tried to bring it back into the building, but at that point we had just locked our doors for the night so he wasn’t able to bring it back in. So, the fact that he was trying to bring it back into the building and put it back into service, that tells me he was a skimmer artist. Which is not that uncommon apparently, according to the police.”

When he could not take the till back to the restaurant, Samaroo says the individual refunded himself dozens of times and took the machine with him.

Samaroo believed the individual was attempting to install something onto the machine to allow it to skim the numbers and pins of cards that get used with the till during service. She says she’s no stranger to the concept.

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“About ten years ago at a Petro Canada, I put my card through the debit machine at the front till when I was buying gas. Later, the police called me and told me my debit card had been compromised because I had put my card through a machine that had a skimmer device planted in it. So, when this happened to us, I knew exactly what it was all about.”

Skimming devices are usually installed into or over the card slot of atms or transaction machines. More information about skimmers provided by the BC RCMP is available here.

Samaroo has been grateful for the community outpouring of support, and has had multiple people calling her attempting to identify the person.

“Someone had called anonymously and gave me the name of the perpetrator, but they didn’t leave their name or anything so when I contacted the police with it, they said they couldn’t legally actually do anything unless the person identified themselves and let [the RCMP] know who they were,” said Samaroo. “The funny thing is, another person also contacted me with the exact same name and they said they know for sure this person had done it. So it’s just a waiting game now to figure out, like, what can I do with this information?”

Samaroo added she thought the man is a community member, as he knew information about the restaurant that was a few years old.

“Somebody in the community will know who he is. He’s somebody’s neighbor, he’s somebody’s old classmate, we do believe he’s from the community— he made comments about coming to our restaurant years ago when it was 24 hours. For him to know that… that means he’s been in our community for a long time.”

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the BC RCMP on their non-emergency line.

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