Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Deputies arrest alleged ATM thief


Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Detectives arrested a 32-year-old Van Nuys man on March 13 for allegedly stealing $30,000 from an ATM at the Fuel Station on Calle Real and Turnpike Road.
A manager at the Fuel Station first noticed the missing $30,000 in mid February and told authorities the ATM did not appear to have been tampered with or damaged.

According to Sgt. Alex Tipolt, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Department, the manager began investigating and discovered a highly technical process by which a person could hack into ATMs.
Tipolt said the suspect, identified as Joseph Porche, knew just how to do it.
“It’s an intricate way of doing it,” Tipolt said. “It definitely takes a lot of knowledge. It’s basically a very complicated way of hacking into a computer system.”
The manager hired a private investigator to conduct surveillance of the machine, and on that same day, witnessed Porche make a withdrawal from the ATM.
Tipolt said the investigator followed Porche and called authorities. A traffic stop was made and officials arrested the man after they discovered he was in possession of marked money that had been place in the ATM.
Tipolt said Porche had defrauded the same ATM 14 times in the past month and was captured on camera during each instance.
He said investigators are still trying to determine if Porche has targeted other ATMs in the area.
Porche was booked into county jail and is being held on $100,000 bail.

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