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Petaluma police search for suspects in ATM skimming scheme

Petaluma police are asking for the public’s help identifying two people suspected of installing a card-skimming device in an ATM.

The device was installed July 21 at a Bank of America ATM on North McDowell Boulevard, police said Saturday in a Nixle alert.

Police released photographs of the two suspects in the alert. The images came from a surveillance camera at the bank.

The suspects were seen driving a silver 2021 Mazda, according to police.

The car was registered to Avis Car Rental. The suspects identified themselves to the rental company as Flore Cioara, with a California driver’s license, and Andrei Bivol, with a Romanian driver’s license, police said.

Police are unsure whether the suspects gave their real names to the rental company, said Lt. Tim Lyons.

Skimmers, which can be attached to the internal wiring of ATMs, gas station pumps and self-checkout kiosks, scan information from credit and debit cards. They are typically not visible to people using the machines.

“Criminals use the data to create fake debit or credit cards and then steal from victims’ accounts,” Petaluma police said.

Nobody reported their card information stolen from the ATM, Lyons said. It is unclear whether there were any victims in the scam, he said.

Police are urging anyone who recognizes the suspects in the photo to call the Petaluma Police Department at 707-778-4372.

You can reach Staff Writer Matt Pera at matthew.pera@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @Matt__Pera.

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