62nd Precinct Cops of the Month nabbed credit scammers


Sergeant Christopher Dixon and Police Officer Joseph Lavelle were named October’s Cops of the Month in the 62nd Precinct for their vigilance and swift action in catching two ATM skimmers red-handed – an arrest that led to the seizure of a large stash of counterfeiting materials from a Coney Island apartment.

Dixon and Lavelle were patrolling near Ceasar’s Bay Bazaar Shopping Center at 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 15 when they spotted two men inside a TD Bank vestibule, tampering with an ATM machine, tools in hand, metal shavings on the ground, attempting to remove ATM parts.

The suspects were arrested and brought to the 62nd Precinct stationhouse, where officers from the Field Intelligence Unit and Financial Crimes Task Force interviewed them and determined that the ATM parts were intended to be shipped overseas to China for duplication into skimming devices, which store credit card information and send them to identity thieves for use in creating counterfeit cards.

One of the suspects, Elvin Pineda, 25, of Coney Island, also revealed that he had more skimming materials in his apartment, at which point cops got a search warrant and discovered color printers, re-encoders, embossers, laptops, CD writers, flash drives, signature pads, an iPad, dozens of forged driver’s licenses, hundreds of blank credit cards, and hundreds of credit cards for Capital One, American Express and Citibank.

Pineda was charged with criminal mischief and criminal possession of a forgery device, forged instrument and skimmer device. His accomplice Luis Fernandez, 28, of Sunset Park was charged with criminal mischief, grand larceny, identity theft and possession of a forged instrument – he had three counterfeit credit cards on him when arrested.

62nd Precinct commanding officer Captain Bill Taylor praised Dixon and Lavelle, describing them as “very sharp, attentive and always alert.” The bust, he said, was “the largest I’ve seen.”

Dixon and Lavelle have been with the NYPD for 13 and six years, respectively. Lavelle, a Bensonhurst native, noted that “it’s nice helping people I grew up with in the neighborhood.”

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