Saturday evening, three fraud suspects were chased from the Qoola store at Uptown by the owner.

Saturday evening March 10th, just after 10pm, three suspects were seen by the owner of the Qoola store at Uptown Centre attempt to steal the pin pad. He confronted the trio who fled the store.

As luck would have it, a Saanich Police patrol Sergeant who was driving by was flagged down by the owner who had followed the suspects out of the store. The owner provided descriptions and where the suspects were last seen.

The Sergeant then entered the underground parkade and found the three suspects standing near a Mercedes. All three were arrested without incident with the assistance of other officers and the car was impounded.

As part of the investigation, a search warrant was executed at a local hotel yesterday afternoon by Saanich Police Detectives. Evidence recovered from the hotel room included stolen point of sale machines and parts, computers, tools and equipment used to compromise the devices. While at the hotel, a fourth suspect arrived and was arrested by detectives.

Charges suggested by detectives include:

- 16 counts of identity theft

- Theft and possession of stolen property

- Possession of instruments used to forge credit cards

- Various breach charges pertaining to court orders

Charged are four men from the Lower Mainland area, ranging from 24 to 40 years of age.

Retailers are asked to:

- inspect your point of sale device to ensure it has not been replaced or tampered with;

- train employees to keep a careful watch on the devices;

- if a card error occurs do not offer to swipe the card at the till. This may be a violation of your agreement with card companies and businesses may be out the money;

- do not manually input the number. This also may be a violation of your agreement;

- if your business does not have chip enabled technology or the customer does not have a chip card, compare the last four numbers on the card to the printed receipt. When it is a fraudulent transaction, often they do not match.

Did you know that Saanich has an anti fraud program for retailers using point of sale devices, called the Saanich Police Pin Watch. Over 400 Saanich retailers are currently involved. It involves a visit from our Crime Prevention Officer and tamper proof stickers applied to your pads.

If you are a local retailer using pin technology and are not part of the program, please contact our Crime Prevention office at 250-475-4346.

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