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Police: Moldovan Man Found With 45 Stolen French Debit Cards

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Valeriu Malcoci / photo from Riverside Police

Valeriu Malcoci / photo from Riverside Police

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RIVERSIDE, Ill. (STMW) – A Moldovan man was taken into custody Sunday in west suburban Riverside, an arrest that eventually led to the recovery of 45 debit cards and PIN numbers reported stolen in Europe.

Valeriu Malcoci, 20, was arrested after someone called 911 about a suspicious person about 8 p.m. Sunday, a statement from Riverside police said. The caller said the man was going back and forth between a vehicle and ATM at the Bank of America branch near Harlem and Burlington.

When a police officer arrived, he saw the man run down an alley and hide behind some garbage cans, police said. He was arrested, as were two other people found walking nearby in the 300 block of East Burlington.

At the time, Malcoci was holding $400 in cash and had several debit cards in his pockets, as well as several bank receipts for withdrawals over $100, police claim.

Agents from the U.S. Secret Service were contacted to aid in the investigation and to translate, as Malcoci could not speak English, police said.

He was in the United States on a valid visa to work for a moving company, and was staying in a townhome in the 4700 block of Church Street in Skokie, where the company’s foreign employees live, police said.

Authorities ultimately found 45 debit or gift cards in his possession, police said. Officials are trying to track down their rightful owners, but it is not an easy job, as all of the debit cards were originally stolen from Paris, France.

“I am extremely grateful that the Secret Service would send three agents to assist local law enforcement in what can only be described as a very complex and complicated financial crime investigation,” Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said in the statement.

Malcoci is charged with altering or counterfeiting debit cards, a Class 3 felony, police said. The investigation continues and additional charges are possible.

He was being held on a $10,000 bond and will next appear in court Aug. 11 in Maywood, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s office.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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