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Police: Man Caught Installing Credit Skimming Devices in La Quinta... Again

The man was on already on probation for pleading guilty last July to felony charges stemming from similar incidents at Chase branches in La Quinta and Palm Desert in May, according to the sheriff's department and court records.

Vahe Ruben Yerkanyan
Vahe Ruben Yerkanyan

A 30-year-old Los Angeles County man who pleaded guilty last summer to using an electronic skimmer to steal account information from customers at a Chase bank branch in La Quinta was back behind bars Friday for allegedly doing the same thing again at the same branch.

Vahe Ruben Yerkanyan of Sun Valley was arrested at 11:30 a.m. Thursday in Palm Springs, culminating a "lengthy investigation" by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department into card skimming thefts in September 2013, sheriff's Sgt. Randy Vasquez said.

Yerkanyan was on probation for pleading guilty last July to felony charges stemming from similar incidents at Chase branches in La Quinta and Palm Desert in May, according to the sheriff's department and court records.

Sheriff's Deputy Armando Munoz said Yerkanyan was released from custody shortly before the alleged thefts in September.

Vasquez said Yerkanyan is suspected of installing an electronic skimming device and hidden camera on an ATM at the Chase branch at 78-805 Highway 111 in La Quinta on Sept. 15, 2013.

"Bank account information was stolen from several Chase bank customers. This information was then used to fraudulently withdraw over $9,000 in cash at banks in the Los Angeles area," Vasquez alleged.

On May 14, 2013, Yerkanyan was arrested at the Chase branch at 74-930 Country Club Drive in Palm Desert, where he was trying to use the stolen information to get cash. Sheriff's Sgt. Steve DaSilva said that two days before the arrest was made, Yerkanyan went into a vestibule at the La Quinta Chase at 78-805 Highway 111 on three occasions, installing and removing a skimming device.

On July 22, 2013, Yerkanyan pleaded guilty to one count each of burglary, forging an access card and using personal information to obtain credit and was immediately sentenced to 270 days in custody and three years probation. He was also ordered to pay a total of about $4,500 in restitution to six victims, according to the Riverside County District Attorney's Office.

Under the plea deal, 13 other counts were dismissed.

On Thursday, Yerkanyan was booked into the county jail in Indio on suspicion of identity theft, burglary, theft of bank account information and probation violation, and is being held in lieu of $25,000 bail. He is expected to be arraigned Monday at the Larson Justice Center in Indio, according to jail records.

Anyone with more information on the investigation was asked to contact sheriff's Investigator Ken Willow at (760) 863-8461.


— City News Service.

Cathy February 28, 2014 at 08:45 PM
Good Start! There are more of them out there! Get them all!
Sean Taroli March 01, 2014 at 02:13 AM
She looks like a tranny.
Marvin Harrison March 01, 2014 at 02:43 AM
I wonder why this guy has such a fascination to that Chase branch. Does he have a home in the area (I know he lives in the San Fernando Valley) or a relative nearby? There must be 1000 ATMs between there and La Quinta. Second ID theft is a felony. Add burglary, forgery, grand theft, and there should be a couple of years for stupidity.
Dean March 01, 2014 at 06:15 AM
What a low-life this guy is. Having been the victim of this sort of crime 3 times, it reiterates how urgent it is that financial institutions upgrade their security measures to make our debit and credit cards more secure.

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