They were tempted by an Apple.
A sticky-fingered parking attendant, his band of five fake shoppers and a rogue cashier have been arrested for stealing customers’ credit cards to purchase thousands of dollars of Apple products at B&H. The group of 20-somethings managed to rip $36,000 off customers at the Eastway Tenant Parking Garage, located on West 49th Street, over the course of two months last year, according to the district attorney.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. released a statement yesterday announcing the indictment of seven people. Chinoy Shaw, the oldest at 27, worked at the parking garage and is accused of using a small electronic device called a “skimmer” to record the credit card information of the customers. He has been charged with stealing over 50 account numbers and personal identities.
Five shoppers, Stephanie Bundrik, 21, Axell Dume, 21, Edgar Estevez, 24, Jonathan Guerrero, 19, and Yomailys Nachapelle, then used the replicated credit cards and forged identifications to buy a host of products at B&H Photo and Video Store on Ninth Avenue, prosecutors say.
Waiting for the “shoppers” behind the cash register was Nidia Delacruz, 21, who allegedly processed all the fraudulent purchases.
“The parking garage attendants at the center of this long-term investigation drove off with a lot more than their victims’ cars,” said District Attorney Vance.
Prosecutors say the shoppers also went on sprees at several Home Depot and Verizon locations. The defendants are charged with grand larceny, identity theft, conspiracy, scheming to defraud and 53 counts of criminal possession of stolen property. A little simple math shows that the shoppers bought around 10 iPads or MacBooks each, all at the same store, all from the same register assistant. We guess B&H management must have thought there was a rash of of 20-year-olds in Midtown West starting up their own well-funded design companies.
These arrests come in a long line of parking attendant bandits caught by the cops. Four other defendants from five other garages also stand accused of skimming credit card details. District Attorney Vance is urging “New Yorkers and our city’s visitors to be vigilant against identity theft.” Very good advice. The Observer’s advice? Stop driving in Manhattan.