Sheriff: Thieves involved in international crime ring stole $250K from area ATMs
ASCENSION PARISH - Three people from outside the state have been arrested in an alleged scheme that stole about a quarter of a million dollars from local banks.
According to the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office, Miche Mitchell, Anthony Lennox and Constantin Tanase took part in the thefts that siphoned about $250,000 from Ascension and Baton Rouge-area ATMs. Investigators believe the trio would drive to the machines at different bank locations and used "cloned" ATM cards to withdraw hefty amounts of cash.
Surveillance video led deputies to identify two of the suspects, and they were eventually tracked down in a traffic stop on I-10. Tanase, a Romanian national, reportedly admitted to deputies he was part of a large-scale crime ring involving foreign nationals traveling around the U.S. committing similar crimes. Mitchell and Lennox are both from New York, officials said.
The stolen cash and the cards used in the crimes were later tracked down to an area hotel where the three were staying. Deputies say they believe the cloned ATM cards came from outside the country, but it's still unclear how they were obtained. Sheriff Jeff Wiley says federal agents are assisting in the investigation.
“This is an example of an outstanding investigation, and two nights of surveillance at multiple sites in this parish resulting in the arrests of three traveling criminals,” Wiley said in a statement. “These criminals are no doubt part of an organized criminal enterprise stretching from coast to coast, thanks to the United States Secret Service for ongoing assistance on this case.”
All three men were booked into the Ascension Parish Jail on charges of bank fraud. Lennox has since bonded out of jail while the other two remain in custody.
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