57 People in the Grand Valley Skimmed for $200,000

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

A local pastor got ripped off for thousands of dollars and he's not the only one, the Grand Junction Police Department says almost 60 people in the Grand Valley had their credit and debit cards skimmed.

On Wednesday, investigators did not have any suspects.

11 news first told you about skimming in the valley last summer, when police said 40 victims had been taken for thousands.

Now more victims have come forward and the Grand Junction Police Department is releasing new details about the investigation.

Pastor David Huslig said someone swiped $4,000 in wire transfers from his accounts and investigators say that's just the tip of the iceburg. They say 57 victims were taken for an average of $2,000 a piece, totaling almost $200,000.

David Huslig has been a pastor at Bethel Assembly of God Church for 29 years. He never thought anyone would try to steal from his family.

"We were surprised, shocked," Huslig told 11 News in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

Shocked when he looked at his bank statement a few weeks ago and saw two, $2,000 wire transfers to Las Vegas casinos he had never been to.

"We feel violated that somebody could get away with this."

Someone got a hold of his credit card number and skimmed his information. Huslig reported it to police, to find out he isn't the only one who's been taken for thousands.

Kate Porras with the Grand Junction Police Department says there have been almost 60 skimming cases at restaurants and businesses across the Grand Valley in the last six months.

"We have to try to figure out who the actual person is that's doing the crime and a lot of times they are in and out quickly and move on very quickly," Porras told 11 News on Wednesday.

Porras says the crooks use a handheld card reader to swipe a card and in seconds have account numbers without their customers or employers ever catching them. She says it's a difficult crime to track.

"We try to get as much information as we can from the victims themselves, where were they, what time and as much bank information as we can."

Investigators are working leads but don't know who may be behind the thefts.

Pastor David Huslig says he hopes police catch the crooks but he isn't angry.

"I already told my congregation if I ever met the guy I would say I forgive you," said Huslig.

And even if the suspects don't get justice in this life, Pastor Huslig thinks they will in the next.

Pastor Huslig's bank did reimburse the $4,000 and he says he won't let his cards out of his site again.

Police say that it the best way to protect yourself, don't let your card out of your site.

A few other tips, keep and review your receipts and bank statements, choose a unique pin number and don't keep it in your wallet and report lost or stolen cards.

Tthe Grand Junction Police Department is also looking into the possibility that these skim cases are related to others across the state and possibly state lines. Investigators have given their information to federal authorities.

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