New ATM robbery ploy: Sticky keypad | Inquirer News
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New ATM robbery ploy: Sticky keypad

Man arrested in Malabon

MANILA, Philippines–Nothinghigh-tech here. Just a few drops of sticky stuff to keep potential victims “glued” to the spot.

While other crime syndicates are reportedly using scanners and hidden cameras, a man allegedly devised what he thought to be a simpler way to rob users of automated teller machines (ATMs).

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The Malabon City police have arrested Aron Conular, 44, for allegedly stealing the ATM card of a woman who was caught off-guard and distracted from using the machine’s keypad which the suspect had earlier smeared with a strong glue.

Northern Police District spokesperson Superintendent Ferdinand del Rosario said “this is the first time we have seen such a case. It’s a cruder, less sophisticated scheme compared to the techniques we have seen wherein criminals place a skimming device which captures ATM data and a camera which records the PIN (personal identification number) as it is typed on the keypad.”

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Conular, a janitor living in Quezon City, was arrested Wednesday night after a long chase which started when he took the ATM card of Vernadette Ramos at a Metrobank branch on J.P. Rizal Street in Barangay San Agustin.

In a report, Senior Police Officer 1 Eduardo Tribana of the Malabon police said Ramos was about to withdraw cash and had already inserted her card into the ATM around 9 p.m. when she felt that the keys were sticky.

Conular then approached the woman, offered to help her and suggested that she look for the bank’s security guard for assistance.

Ramos followed Conular’s advice, briefly leaving her ATM card inside the machine, but she couldn’t find any guard nearby.  When she looked back, she caught the suspect pulling the card out of the ATM.

It was not clear in Tribana’s report how Conular was able to get the card, but Del Rosario said he may have simply pushed the “cancel” button to eject it from the machine.

When Ramos demanded her card back, the suspect just ignored her, walked away and boarded a passenger jeepney, according to Tribana.

Ramos, who went to the ATM on a scooter, followed the jeepney and saw Conular get off and take a tricycle. She continued tailing the suspect until she met a team of policemen on patrol.

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The officers eventually cornered Conular and recovered Ramos’ ATM card. The suspect also yielded a knife when arrested, Tribana said.

Del Rosario said “the success rate (of such a scheme) may not be good since the suspect will still likely have no knowledge of the card’s PIN, unless a camera has recorded it.”

“Usually, ATM robberies involve suspects who force the users to empty their accounts or wait for them finish the transaction before robbing them,” the NPD spokesperson said.

Del Rosario reminded ATM users to be vigilant especially when using the machine during late hours. “Look around first for suspicious persons nearby. Better yet, use ATMs that are in busy areas or where there are security guards on-site.”

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TAGS: Aron Conular, ATM, ATM robbery, robbery
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