Albuquerque Police thought they had simply pulled over another stolen car, but they had no idea they were about to hit the mother lode of ID theft, and a major credit card skimming operation.
On April 3, APD pulled over a stolen car. The driver, 33-year-old Jose Machado, was taken into custody.
The man he was following, 30-year-old Steffen Allen, also pulled over, but not at APD’s request.
In the stolen 4-Runner officers found card readers, blank cards with missing chips, devices to reproduce cards, and a booklet with handwritten entries of people’s names, and all their information.
When officers got Machado back to APD headquarters, he wouldn’t talk.
In the police video, he told the detective, “I would want to have an attorney here.”
Allen, however, didn’t mind talking with officers.
“Can you tell me about all those IDs and those scanners that you got in there?” an officer asked Allen.
He replied, “I didn’t even know that there was anything like that in there. I swear.”
He continued to deny any connection to what officers found, even after the officers showed him card after card.
They even found another card that didn’t belong to him in his jeans, but Allen said they weren’t his pants.
“Do you understand how that sounds, man?” said one officer to Allen.
They also found apps on his laptop for card readers and ID software, but Allen said someone put the programs on his computer and the readers in his backpack.
The officers didn’t buy Allen’s story for a second.
“You understand that it’s very weird that somebody would just randomly put stuff in your bag,” said an officer.
Another is heard in the police video saying, “And your pants!”
They tried to get him to fess up.
“Unless you can start explaining stuff that makes sense you’re looking at a lot of felony charges,” said an officer.
Allen didn’t budge and was charged for the crime.
The police reports do not indicate where officers suspect the men were planting those card skimming devices, or how many identities they may have stolen.
Both Machado and Allen are facing charges of fraudulent possession of credit card machinery. Both were let out of jail until trial.
Machado now has a warrant out for his arrest because he failed to show up to a meeting with the courts.