Burglar hits 10 Long Beach businesses in credit-card reader refund scam, police say

Police say they are investigating a string of overnight burglaries in Downtown Long Beach where they believe the perpetrator is stealing point-of-sale terminals, which are then used to pull money out of the victim businesses’ accounts.

The first in the string of burglaries happened on Sept. 4 in the 600 block of Redondo Avenue, police said. At least nine more reported incidents followed, with the latest two happening Wednesday on East Broadway.

A single person is believed to be responsible, according to police, who have yet to identify a suspect. He was only described as a male of unknown race and age who uses a face covering and gloves. He is believed to be around 5 feet and 6 inches to 5 feet and 8 inches tall, police said.

The scam, which has been seen in Orange County, is new to Long Beach, according to the Downtown Long Beach Alliance.

It involves thieves targeting payment terminals, which they can use to refund money from the business onto prepaid or stolen credit cards, which can then be used to withdraw money from an ATM.

“At the end of the day, businesses are strongly advised to remove all electronics, including tablets and cell phones, and lock them in a secure location,” according to the DLBA.

The LBPD will place additional resources in the affected areas overnight as detectives continue to investigate, according to the department.

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Fernando Haro is the Long Beach Post's breaking news and public safety reporter.