Officers, mayor among many in Williamsburg hit by debit card skimmer

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WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - The Williamsburg Police Department is investigating about 100 debit card fraud cases in the area.

Police say the cases were all reported in a 24 to 48 hour time period.

"We believe that it's the work of a larger organization that's been operating for some time now", said Chief Wayne Bird of the Williamsburg Police Department. "And what they do is target local businesses along major interstates"

Authorities believe thieves used a skimmer device easily placed over a point of sales machine. This device captures card information and pin numbers when a card is swiped.

"Then they'll come back, say, on a Saturday morning. Then they'll remove the device", said Bird. "And within that device is an SD card that stores all the video images of the transactions. And then they're able to take that information and quickly start making withdrawals from those accounts."

Police say they think this is the work of a larger organization that targets local businesses along major interstates. This organization is now believed to be working in Kentucky.

Officers are going through hours of video footage to try to figure out when the skimmer was put in place and who the suspect or suspects are.

Of the nearly 100 people stolen from, Chief Bird says two of his officers have had money stolen as well as the mayor of Williamsburg.

"My first reaction was, 'how are me and my wife going to pay for this'", said Roddy Harrison, Mayor of Williamsburg.

Harrison says the thieves stole close to $1,000 from his bank account. He says many in Williamsburg, unfortunately, share his experience.

"They started coming in so fast. And then when I got the phone call on Monday evening, and I was told how many it already had at just that one bank, I was like, 'dog gone. This is getting pretty bad you know'", said Harrison. "And then Tuesday, it was just people steadily coming in. 'Hey, my card was hit'."

Chief Bird says the skimming device is no longer inside the store it was believed to be inside. He recommends using debit cards as credit cards to protect personal financial information.

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