UNION COUNTY, NJ – Two New York City men who installed on several ATMs in Union County devices that let them steal credit card information were nabbed after authorities set up hidden surveillance operations, police said.

The men, Raul Rusecu, 35, of Brooklyn, and Francesco Lippi, 33, of Queens, are facing a variety of charges including use of a scanning device, tampering with evidence and hindering apprehension, said authorities.

The arrests followed investigations into reports that credit card “skimmers” were being used at two 7-Eleven convenience stores. Union County detectives worked with other area police, including those from Roselle Park who recently probed a skimming device on an ATM at the 7-Eleven on Westfield Avenue, police said.

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Detectives determined a 7-Eleven in the 5 Points section of Union (1080 Galloping Hill Rd.) also had a skimmer attached. While checking other locations in town, they found another skimmer at the 7-Eleven at 2319 Route 22, police said, adding that Springfield Police found another skimmer on an ATM at the 7-Eleven store on Route 22 in that town.  

Detectives set up surveillance of both locations starting at about 4:30 p.m. on Jan 14. At about 9:20 p.m. that day, the detectives assigned to the Route 22 stores observed a man come and remove the skimmer from the ATM and then leave the store, police said. The man drove away from the scene and was stopped by police shortly afterwards, they said.

Detectives found in the car Rusecu and Lippi as well as several disguises and four cell phones, police said. Rusecu and Lippi were arrested, and all the items in the vehicle were seized for further investigation, said police.

Bail was set at $75,000 for each man, and they were both sent to the Union County jail. Neither suspect gave a full address, and detectives are working to determine if they are legally in the country, said police.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact the Union Police Detective Anthony Lagoa at 908-851-5030.

Skimmers, which are essentially card readers installed on top of real payment terminals. The devices can collect data off a card's magnetic stripe. Data thieves must return to the compromised ATMs to retrieve the file containing the stolen data. With that information, they can create cloned cards or break into bank accounts to steal money.