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Darien Police Charge Bronx Man In Theft Of ATM Card Information

Mario Pena
Mario Pena Photo Credit: Darien Police Department

DARIEN, Conn. -- Darien police arrested one Bronx man and are expecting another arrest in an ATM skimming scheme, according to police.

Mario Pena, 22, of the Bronx, was charged with fourth-degree larceny, 42 counts of fraudulent use of an ATM, 42 counts of use of a counterfeit credit card, 24 counts of third-degree identity theft, and 24 counts of conspiracy to commit third-degree identity theft. A second suspect, Mirko Martinelli, is scheduled to turn himself in to Darien police Monday.

Police received a complaint on Sept. 22 from JP Morgan Chase Bank security that two men, later identified as Pena and Martinelli, had used counterfeit debit/credit cards to withdraw cash from two ATMs in Darien. Police learned that after using the cards, the two had traveled to Fairfield. JP Morgan Chase security contacted Fairfield Police, and the two were apprehended at a People's United Bank ATM.

Police said that the two had 34 counterfeit debit cards on them. Police determined that the debit card numbers and personal information on the cards had been obtained by running a "skimmer" on an ATM at a JP Morgan Chase Bank in Oradell, N.J. on Sept. 21, according to police reports. Skimmers are placed on the outside of ATMs and reads and records information when a customer places their card in the ATM. Police said in this case the skimmer was on the outside of the ATM for 15 hours.

Police said that on Sept. 22 Pena and Martinelli attempted 42 withdrawals from ATMs at the JP Morgan Chase on Noroton Avenue in Darien and the Citibank on Heights Road in Darien. They were able to obtain $1,220 from 13 compromised accounts, police said.

Warrants were issued for their arrests on Oct. 3 on larceny and credit card charges, and extradition was granted from surrounding states and New Jersey, police said.

On Oct. 27, Darien police were notified by U.S. Customs that Pena was in custody at Logan International Airport in Boston after returning from the Dominican Republic. He was turned over to Massachusetts state police and picked up by Darien officers in Massachusetts on Friday and returned to Darien.

Darien police said that the Oradell Police Department also applied for arrest warrants for Pena and Martinelli for the skimming incident in their jurisdiction. While in Darien custody, Pena was also charged as a fugitive from justice on the Oradell warrant.

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