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ATM skimming hits Kent County area

Police are urging credit/debit card holders to beware of ATM skimming, an older theft technology that has hit the Kent County area.

On August 28, the Kent County Sheriff Department was sent to the Speedway Gas Station at 4656 Alpine Avenue N.W., Alpine Township, on a possible credit card fraud complaint. A male subject was inside attempting to take money out of an ATM machine with several credit cards.

Deputies found three gift cards on the man. He was taken into custody due to inconsistent statements, his lack of any identification, and his final admission that the cards were not his.

Kent County Detective Aron Bowser, who is assigned to the Metropolitan Fraud and Identity Theft Task Force, was assigned the case and did an analysis of the cards. He found the cards contained altered data on their magnetic strips. The account information imprinted onto the magnetic strips belonged to victims from the Kent County area.

Fifth/Third Bank advised they recently were made aware of skimming devices being place on their ATM machines in Wyoming and Grandville. Through these skimming devices, local residents had their account information compromised (including the three accounts found imprinted onto the cards the suspect was carrying). This activity has been taking place between the Grand Rapids area and Chicago. The dollar amount of loss is believed to exceed $100,000.

The Kent County Prosecutor’s Office charged Dontae Kaaba Collins, a 22-year-old from Illinois, with a two count warrant for Possession and Use of a Fraudulent Transaction Device (each is a 4 year felony). On August 30, Collins was arraigned in the 63rd District Court. He is currently lodged at the Kent County Correctional Facility on a $100,000 C/S bond.

A second suspect is still outstanding and anyone with information is asked to call Det. Bowser at 616-257-9746. The United Stated Secret Service and the Chicago Police Department are assisting in the investigation.

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