Bali Police have arrested five Bulgarian men in connection with an ATM skimming scam and secured IDR78 million (US$5,580) from them in allegedly ill-gotten cash.
Identified as Ivaylo Filipov Trivonof, 43, George Jordanov, 45, Todor Krasimirov, 21, Andre Iliev Peytchev, 41, and Varadin Nikolaev Popov, 28, the group had only flown into Bali within the past month or so, and are thought to have deliberately targeted the tourist island due to its large volume of spendthrift visitors.
Working on a tip-off from one of the local banks, police launched an investigation and surveillance program that went on for five days.
“CCTV footage recorded two perpetrators, [both] wearing wigs, one [wearing] a hat, and one wearing a balaclava,” said Andi Fairan, the head of Bali Police Criminal Investigation Unit on Thursday, as quoted by Kompas.
Police managed to track down the two rental cars that the scammers were using and eventually chased both vehicles down Jl. Tirta Gangga. In their frantic efforts to escape, one of the cars reportedly crashed.
“As they continued to be pursued, the perpetrators resisted by crashing into a car and wrecking its rear end. At that time, officers fired until the men were secured,” explained Fairan, as quoted by Kompas.
Meanwhile, the other five were reportedly caught with more than 3,000 pirated ATM cards, IDR788 million in cash, laptops, and the various wigs used to commit the crimes.
All of the bank notes are believed to have originated from ATM skimming, though it’s unclear exactly how much money the group managed to swindle in total.
Police are still searching for the sixth man while the other five suspects face prison sentences of up to six years and fines of up to IDR6 billion (US$429,303).
Bali is known to have a bad rap for ATM skimming and many of the culprits seem to hail from Bulgaria. Just last month, a Bulgarian cybercrime group was found to be tinkering with cash machines in Sanur.