NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Seven people were indicted Wednesday on charges of stealing credit card information from customers at the Midtown parking garage.

The defendants were accused of using credit card-skimming devices to steal account information from the Eastway Tenant Parking Garage on West 49th Street, and creating counterfeit cards to buy Apple products at the B&H Photo and Video Store, on Ninth Avenue, between September and November 2011.

They were charged in a 165-count indictment with conspiracy, grand larceny, identity theft, criminal possession of a forged instrument, criminal possession of stolen property, and scheme to defraud.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said Eastway garage parking attendant Chinoy Shaw, 27, used a small electronic skimmer to record unsuspecting customers’ credit card information from the cards’ magnetic stripes. More than 50 customers had their identities stolen, prosecutors said.

“It already costs an arm and a leg to park in Manhattan and this fraud has made it even more expensive and concerning for visitors to come in and park in a garage,” District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said.

Shaw and his alleged accomplices then transferred the stolen credit card information onto new, counterfeit cards. Those cards were used by “shoppers” who bought more than $36,000 worth of iPads and MacBook Pro laptops from B&H.

The shoppers – Stephanie Bundrick, 21; Axell Dume, 21; Edgar Estevez, 24; Jonathan Guerrero, 19; and Yomailys Nachapelle, age unlisted – also allegedly used the fake cards to make fraudulent purchase at Home Depot, Verizon and several gas stations, prosecutors said. All were charged as co-conspirators.

Also charged in the scheme was Nidia Delacruz, 21, a former cashier at B&H, who allegedly processed all the fraudulent purchases.

DA Vance advised consumers to take precautions to avoid being victimized by credit card fraud this holiday season. He advises you to:

• Ask cashiers to process your credit card in your presence when you buy items;
• Keep an eye on your credit card statements for fraudulent purchases;
• Keep your personal information in a secure location;
• Report any suspicious activity to your financial institution.

The latest arrests are part of a long-term investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office into credit card fraud at parking garages. Four others have already pleaded guilty in connection to the probe.

Does this make you cautious about using your credit card at parking garages? Leave your comments below…


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