HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu prosecutors on Tuesday secured an eight-count indictment against three California men suspected of stealing financial information from nearly 200 people in Hawaii.
Drivers like Adam Sonntag fuel up their cars without giving identity theft much thought. But Honolulu prosecutors say during a two-week period last September, three men used credit card skimming devices to collect account numbers and PINs at four gas stations in the Waikiki area.
"You know it makes me mad that they just take advantage of hard-working people," Sonntag said.
An Oahu grand jury indicted Akop Tadevosovich Changryan, Karapet Kalantryan and Araik Davityan on eight counts, including identity theft, conspiracy and fraudulent use of a credit card.
Court documents say the men from California flew to Hawaii and victimized 194 people by opening front panels on gas pumps and installing devices that could capture data from the magnetic strips on cards.
Prosecutors say the men later returned to the gas stations to retrieve their devices and then flew back to California, where they used the information to acquire $170,000 from six financial institutions in Hawaii.
"It's crazy, you know," Sonntag said. "You would think somebody would catch it sooner, but, I don't know, it's tough. It just shows you you gotta watch your money, I guess."
"It's pretty outrageous that people would do that to other people," Melissa Summers-Day, driver, said. "I mean, we don't even think about it when we come to get gas. We just stick our card in and go."
Prosecutors say the devices were installed late at night, and the team used distraction techniques on gas station employees.
One of the suspects is in custody in California for a similar case. The other suspects are still at large.
"It's happened to me before, so it's something that we're constantly vigilant about," Summers-Day said. "It seems like nowadays, you almost know, everybody almost knows somebody that it's happened to."
Circuit Judge Richard Perkins set bail for each defendant in the case at $250,000.