WATSONVILLE — A 34-year-old Los Angeles man faces criminal charges after investigators allegedly linked him to multiple credit card skimming attempts in two counties.
Watsonville police arrested George Cristea Tuesday at a convenience store on Airport Boulevard “moments after placing a skimming device on a credit card reader,” the department said on social media.
Earlier, Cristea allegedly placed skimming devices in at least two convenience stores in Salinas while driving a stolen car out of Southern California, police say.
The Watsonville Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit responded when Cristea allegedly drove to Watsonville in the stolen car. The Salinas Police Department and the Santa Cruz County Auto Theft Reduction and Enforcement Task Force also assisted in the investigation.
Cristea was sentenced to Santa Cruz County Jail on suspicion of possessing a stolen car and possessing and using a credit card skimmer at a business. The Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office later filed criminal charges against Cristea, including auto theft, burglary, and misdemeanor possession of a scanning device with intent to defraud.
Watsonville Police encourage business owners to be vigilant and to frequently inspect their credit card readers.