Five Romanian nationals in ATM skimming ring arrested

YORK COUNTY, Pa. – Newberry Township Police say all five suspects accused of using an ATM skimming device are in custody in York County. Police were investigating at least 20 reported cases of clone debit/credit cards being used throughout the township. The big break in the case came as the result of a weekend traffic stop in Maryland. The five suspects, all born in Romania, were identified as:

  • Ionela Vaduva, 29, of Lanham, Maryland
  • Danusta Trifu, 48, of Lanham, Maryland
  • Petrica Velcu, 25, of Houston, Texas
  • Marion Trifu, 20, of Lanham, Maryland
  • Benone Lapadat, 39, of Lanham, Maryland

According to the criminal complaint all the arrests resulted after an investigation determined that unknown individual(s) had placed a skimming device on an Automatic Teller Machine(ATM) located in a convenience store at 1090 Old Trail Road, in Etters, York County. On January 22, January 25, and again on January 26. Information was also obtained regarding the times the skimming devices were most lively applied to and removed from the ATM and all transactions, specifically 304 transactions that occurred at that ATM.

Police also obtained video surveillance from inside the store where the skimming device was placed and from several other locations that the cloned debit/credit cards were used which included CVS pharmacies, 7-11’s, Sunoco’s, Target and other stores.

Upon reviewing the video from the Old Trail location and comparing it against data obtained from the ATM, investigators determined that on January 22 at approximately 8:30 p.m. a light skinned female with long black hair and wearing a long black jacket, walked into the store and went straight to the ATM. She then removed the skimming device on the ATM and left the store. On January 25 at about 8:02 a.m. a female with reddish hair and a long purple walked into the store and then over to the ATM. She placed a skimming device on the ATM and then walks out. The next day, January 26 at around 8:44 p.m. the same light skinned woman that was in the store on January 22 enters the store, proceeds to the ATM, removes the skimming device and walks out.

Upon reviewing video surveillance from stores, investigators determined that two separate males were utilizing the cloned debit/credit cards.

On March 6, Newberry Township Police Detective Steven Lutz received information that the Carroll County Maryland Sheriff’s Office had conducted a traffic stop on Saturday, March 4 on a red Mazda minivan. Benone Lapadat and Petrica Velcu were taken into custody for possessing credit card skimming devices. A juvenile male was also taken into custody and released to child protective services. While investigating the suspects, police were able to identify Marion Trifu, the son of Danusia Trifu.  York County investigations also compared notes with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Ofifice determined that Lapada, Velcu and Marion Trifu were the individuals using the cloned cards.

On Tuesday, March 7, several individuals specifically the two females visited Lapada and Velcu at the Carrol County Detention Center.  The two women provided photo identification to authorities and were identified as Ionela Vadua and Danusia Trifu. They photos were then compared to surveillance video of the two females at the 1090 Old Trail store removing and installing the skimming devices. After making positive identification warrants were obtained for their arrests.