A police officer was yesterday honored for spotting a key suspect in the theft of more than NT$83 million (US$2.6 million) from First Commercial Bank automated teller machines (ATMs), resulting in the suspect’s apprehension.
Premier Lin Chuan (林全) presided over the ceremony at the National Police Agency in Taipei honoring Sung Chun-liang (宋俊良), an officer in the Taipei Police Department’s Public Relations Office, and Yilan County police officers who made the arrest.
Sung on Sunday alerted police in Yilan’s Dongao District (東澳) after spotting a man who fit a description of one of the ATM heist suspects at the restaurant where he was having a meal with his family.
Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times
Andrejs Peregudovs is suspected of being a member of a criminal ring of more than 10 people who allegedly stole cash from 41 First Bank ATMs in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taichung on July 9 and 10.
“I was just lucky,” said Sung, who returned from a family trip to Yilan to attend the ceremony.
Sung received a NT$100,000 reward for the tip-off, while Dongao police chief Chen Chih-ta (陳志達) and police officer Kuo Yung-cheng (郭勇承) shared a NT$100,000 reward for the arrest.
The arrest of Peregudovs in Yilan and two other suspects, Romanian Mihail Colibaba and Moldovan Niklae Penkov, at a hotel in Taipei, where about NT$60 million was found, is an encouraging development that demonstrated the professional skills of the nation’s police, Lin said.
A tipoff to police about uncollected cash at an ATM at a First Bank branch in Taipei on July 10 also demonstrated how members of the public can contribute to police investigations, he added.
The report allowed authorities to identify possible suspects through the bank’s security footage and trace their movements, including the departure of two Russian suspects on a flight to Hong Kong on Monday last week.
Investigators found that a certain ATM model used by First Bank was hacked using malware that can make the machines dispense cash without the use of a bank card.
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