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Credit Card Info Stolen From Fine Fare Supermarket Customers, Police Say

By Serena Solomon | December 11, 2013 1:47pm
Grand Larceny Suspect
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LOWER EAST SIDE — Half a dozen customers of a Lower East Side supermarket had their credit card information stolen after shopping at the store this fall, the store's manager said.

The customers all reported seeing unapproved purchases on their credit cards days after shopping at Fine Fare Supermarket at 175 Clinton St., said David Vargos, the store's manager.

"They bought here and then a few days later there were charges in Florida, in Georgia," said Vargos, adding that the unauthorized purchases included items from a local supermarket and a Toys"R"Us.

The NYPD could only immediately confirm a single incident of credit card theft at the Fine Fare, in which a suspect went on a shopping spree at Target in East Harlem with credit card information stolen from the supermarket's database.

That suspect spent $710 at a Target on East 117th Street and was captured on a surveillance camera leaving the store about 6 p.m. Nov. 10, police said.

Vargos said he believes hackers, not store employees, broke into the Fine Fare database. A customer notified the store of the issue on Nov. 18 and since then the store has worked with security experts to change its database program and install a new firewall, Vargos said.

Police came to the store last Friday to investigate, and the store is conducting an internal investigation as well, Vargos said.

"The workers don't see the credit card information — they don't even touch them [the credit cards]," Vargos said. "All the information is encrypted."       

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES), then entering TIP577.