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Debit card scheme hits self-checkout scanners at Petaluma supermarket

A debit card scam that struck self-checkout lanes at 20 supermarkets across the Bay Area hit Petaluma over the weekend.

Customers and employees at a Lucky Supermarket at the Petaluma Gateway Center on Lakeville Highway reported as much as $1,000 withdrawn from accounts linked to their ATM cards.

Police were investigating whether the withdrawals were linked to a known security breach in the chain's self-checkout system.

Seven people reported that money was withdrawn from their bank accounts connected to ATM cards and police are investigating whether the Lucky machines are involved, Petaluma Police Sgt. Steve Nelson said. The amount lost averaged about $500.

The thief or thieves appeared to have withdrawn the cash from locations on the San Francisco peninsula and Southern California, he said.

Two employees at the Petaluma Lucky Supermarket reported losing as much as $1,000 to unidentified sources that withdrew money from their accounts after they used the self checkout scanners.

The employees declined to give their names because they feared they could be fired for talking publicly about the scheme that targeted their employer.

One employee said the company on Friday replaced the swipe machines used in the grocery's self-checkout area.

"They jumped right on it," the employee said.

on Sunday evening, numerous customers were using their ATM cards at the self check-out line. David Ortega, a Petaluma mechanic, bought a loaf of bread and a few other groceries at the self-checkout line, and said there were no warnings or any other notices posted about using his ATM card.

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