More felony counts added in summer ID theft scheme

  • Updated: October 22, 2012 - 9:53 PM

A man charged with several felonies in connection with a complex identity-theft scheme faces three more counts after he was linked to credit-card skimmers discovered at a Plymouth gas station.

Sarkis Mkhsyan, 29, of Van Nuys, Calif., is charged with identity theft, and two counts of unlawful use of a scanning device, all felonies, following an investigation that linked him to credit card skimmers at Herb's Shell Service Center at 17435 County Road 6 N. in Plymouth.

The store's owner called police in June about an issue with credit card readers. On two of the pumps, police found small black objects in shrink wrap with wires connecting them to the pumps' credit card readers. The skimmers, which pick up credit-card information from the unsuspecting pump users, were taken as evidence by the Hennepin County Crime Lab.

Last July, Mkhsyan and his wife, Gohar Yesayan, 28, were charged with multiple felonies following a traffic stop in Plymouth where police found multiple identity theft tools, including credit cards blanks, fuel pump keys and a list of 100 local gas stations. Investigators also found skimmers at a New Hope Shell Station. Mkhsyan's DNA was later matched to the pumps in Plymouth, and surveillance footage showed a white van at the pumps, later shown to be rented by Mkhsyan.

A review of the skimmers revealed more than 100 names and credit card numbers of victims who bought fuel at the station in June 2012. Police spoke with 13 of them, who confirmed they were frequent customers of the gas station. All said they wished to press charges.

Mhksyan is in the Hennepin County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail. He also has a pending case in Glendale, Calif.

ABBY SIMONS

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