ATM thief on probation |

ATM thief on probation

Valentin Raducan, 31, pleaded no contest to one charge of fraudulent use of an access card, a misdemeanor, in Nevada County Superior Court Nov. 18. Raducan had initially been charged with two other felony counts, including concealing, selling or withholding stolen property and burglary; however, both of these charges were dismissed.

Raducan received three years of conditional probation for his plea (the equivalent of pleading guilty) in addition to 20 days’ jail time and a fine of $708.78.

Other conditions of his probation: He is required to submit to search and seizure, he is forbidden to possess any access cards such as credit cards and ATM cards unless they have been issued to him, and he is forbidden to possess electronic surveillance equipment. The defendant also agreed to pay restitution, although that amount had not yet been determined.

After Raducan’s arrest in early November, agents with the FBI were looking into whether Raducan might have ties to an organized crime ring linked to similar activities nationwide. After further investigation, the bureau decided that there was not enough evidence to pursue charges other than those he faced in the state of California.

Raducan was arrested Nov. 5 in Truckee after local police noticed him talking with another man on a two-way radio in the vicinity of the U.S. Bank branch on Donner Pass Road. A silver van was parked nearby with the motor running and nobody inside.

Inside the van, officers found a laptop computer, a suitcase and a new coffee maker that had recently been purchased from Starbucks Coffee. Further investigation revealed that Raducan had purchased more than $1,100 worth of coffee equipment from Starbucks, using two credit cards that had been reported stolen in the North Lake Tahoe area earlier that day.

Officers also found a pinhole camera attached to the U.S. Bank ATM machine, which they believe was transmitting PIN numbers of potential victims to the laptop inside the van.

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