Police: Taco Bell Worker ‘Skimmed’ Customer Credit Cards at Drive-Thru

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WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP -- Police in Luzerne County arrested an employee at a Taco Bell for reportedly stealing credit card information from customers.

Wilkes-Barre Township Police made the arrest on Tuesday and believe the suspect was copying card information for more than a month.

If you used a debit or credit card at the Taco Bell on Wilkes-Barre Township Boulevard between December 1, 2016 through January 9, 2017, Wilkes-Barre Township Police want you to check your bank account.

Police say an employee, Jerome Cratch, 26, of Wilkes-Barre, worked at the drive-thru during that time and was caught on camera using a “skimming” device to copy card information when cards were handed to him by customers.

Tierney Donahue from Nanticoke was eating at the fast food restaurant on Wednesday and had heard the news.

“My thoughts are I made sure I had cash on me today,” said Donahue. “I think that's terrible. It will make me think twice before I use my debit card again.”

Police arrested Cratch after management saw him swiping the cards on the skimming device on surveillance video, which he kept under a counter by the register.

Police say in just one day, Cratch was able to copy 10 cards.

“So, if 10 was done in a day, how many days he was working, it could be a significant number of cards,” said Wilkes-Barre Township Police Chief Will Clark.

“For anyone who got it taken, for them to just start losing money, that's just a really bad thing to do,” said Zechariah May from Nanticoke.

Chief Clark says it's hard to safeguard yourself against this crime aside from just using cash.

“To tell people to use cash, we're becoming a plastic society as far as having money on us. More people have credit cards on them than they do have cash. It's much easier and more convenient,” said Chief Clark.

The chief says skimming device technology is advancing all the time.

In Scranton last year, thieves actually put a skimming device over the ATM at the Penn East Federal Credit Union and stole information from bank cards when members withdrew money.

“You don't even know that you're being defrauded at the time. You think it's a real device and it's not. It's something that's completely bogus,” said Clark.

Chief Clark says Cratch will be charged once the investigation is completed.

A spokesperson for the franchise owner of that Taco Bell issued a statement saying they apologize for any inconvenience this may cause customers and the employee in question was terminated.

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