Seven people have been arrested in connection with a string of debit card frauds in New Brunswick that involved money being stolen from people's bank accounts.
Three men from Quebec have each been charged with one count of attempted theft for allegedly trying to steal a point-of-sale debit pin pad from the Dolan Road Irving in Rothesay early Monday morning.
Pin pads are used to enter account and password information for debit and credit card purchases.
'They were a travelling group of criminals and they came to this area to commit these types of crimes.' —Sgt. Craig MacDougall, Rothesay police
The men, who all pleaded not guilty in Hampton provincial court Monday, have been remanded in custody for a bail hearing in Sussex provincial court on Thursday.
Meanwhile, four other men were arrested by the Oromocto RCMP Monday night in connection with debit fraud at the Irving Big Stop in Salisbury on Sunday.
The men, who are from the Montreal and Laval area and in their mid- to late 20s, were expected to face several charges in Moncton court on Tuesday.
Police believe cases connected
Police believe the cases are connected, said Sgt. Craig MacDougall, of Rothesay's major crime unit.
"They were a travelling group of criminals and they came to this area to commit these types of crimes," he said. "It seems to be a growing crime trend that we're seeing with the technology that's available out there."
Additional charges are pending, possibly in other jurisdictions, said Sgt. Marco Papillon, of the Caledonia RCMP.
"We're just trying to connect the dots here to make sure that everything is all together and the same elements," he said.
It's still unclear how many people have been affected, or how much money is involved.
Police are also investigating similar frauds, which occurred at a service station in Lincoln, Papillon said.
Amine Oucha, 25, of Montreal, Ali Ayoubi, 23, of Montreal, and Arumugam Christin Rosha, 28, of Laval, Que., were arrested without incident after a Dolan Road Irving employee called police to report three men acting suspiciously about 4 a.m., said MacDougall.
The employee, who allegedly witnessed the men trying to steal the pin pad, was aware of the thefts that have been occurring at other businesses "and as a result was more vigilant in watching what these individuals were doing at the store at that time of the morning," MacDougall said.
The men were quickly arrested in a late model rental car on Highway 119 in nearby Quispamsis.
Police are still urging people to be vigilant when using debit pin pads and to keep an eye on their bank account activity for possible fraud.