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Two ATM skimming suspects in custody after chase ends at 50 Penn Place

Vasile Gheti and Cosmin Chelarescu were arrested Nov. 30 after allegedly taking a skimmer from an ATM at a northwest Oklahoma City bank. (Oklahoma County Jail)

Two people were arrested after shots were fired near Penn Square Mall and 50 Penn Place.

The Oklahoma City Police Department reports that around 9:45 a.m. Nov. 30 a Bank of Oklahoma employee, and retired police officer working security, observed two men attempting to pull a skimmer off of an ATM at their location near Northwest Expressway and Pennsylvania Avenue. The two men fled and were chased through the Penn Square Mall parking lot and into the 50 Penn Place parking lot where the security guard's weapon accidentally discharged.

One of the men was taken into custody shortly after the shooting while a passenger in the vehicle fled on foot. Police then searched the area for nearly an hour before taking the second suspect into custody.

No one was injured in the incident. The Bank of Oklahoma issued this statement following the incident:

This morning our banking center staff at 5000 Pennsylvania Ave identified a skimmer on our ATM and notified our security team. When the security manager arrived to investigate, he witnessed individuals attempting to remove the skimmer and flee the scene. The security manager, a 20-year police veteran, called local police and pursued the individuals. We’re grateful for the assistance of the Oklahoma City Police Department who have the individuals in custody.

Police later identified the men as 40-year-old Vasile Gheti and 34-year-old Cosmin Chelarescu.

Devices called 'skimmers' have been around for several years. At first, they were crafted to look like the exterior of gas pumps, or ATMs, and fit over the faceplate where you would swipe your card or enter your personal identification number. Those devices have quickly evolved into a much bigger threat. New skimmers are hidden inside gas pumps and read your card's information as soon as it is swiped, and quietly broadcasts that number to the bad guys.


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