NEWS

Hi-tech thieves milked ATMs

A Bulgarian national has been arrested outside a central Athens bank on suspicion of participation in a gang that used the most sophisticated technology of its kind ever encountered in Europe to steal cash from the accounts of unsuspecting depositors, police said yesterday. The man, whose name was not made public, was caught on Tuesday removing a minute scanning device from the card slot of an automatic teller machine. Police said that the gang had also installed a tiny video camera above the ATM, to record the PIN codes entered by bank account-holders withdrawing cash from the machine. With the aid of electronic data recorded by the scanning device – which was contained in a paper-thin plastic strip placed inside the slot – the gang produced copies of real cash cards and withdrew money using the videotaped PIN numbers. The gang is believed to have been active since July 2003, and to have stolen hundreds of thousands of euros. A second Bulgarian was arrested on Wednesday in Ilioupolis using a less sophisticated device at a bank ATM.