Two Hollywood men face multiple charges of theft after they allegedly bought $100 gift cards at the Target in Glendale using stolen credit card information, officials said.
Arthur Darbinyan, 21, and Alik Dzhanoyan, 20, were charged with five counts of theft of access card information, three counts of identity theft and two counts of second-degree commercial burglary, according to a Los Angeles County Superior Court criminal complaint.
Their bail was reduced from $290,000 to $100,000 Tuesday in Superior Court. They have already pleaded not guilty to the charges, court officials said.
Glendale police and members of the U.S. Marshals Task Force arrested Darbinyan and Dzhanoyan Feb. 2 after prosecutors issued a warrant for their arrests, Det. Ralph Garcia said.
Target’s loss-prevention employee contacted police after Darbinyan and Dzhanoyan reportedly bought 12 $100 gift cards using fraudulent gift cards that were re-encoded with stolen bank account information.
Police also obtained video surveillance footage of the Nov. 1 purchase.
The pair returned to Target on Nov. 3, bought another five $100 gift cards and exited the store, where they were met by police, Garcia said.
Police arrested Darbinyan and Dzhanoyan after they found the gift cards and nine other re-encoded cards in their pockets, he said.
They weren’t immediately charged because detectives wanted to find victims whose bank account information was compromised. Investigators found evidence that bank information of 17 people was stolen, each reporting a loss of $800 to $1,000, police said.
A bank investigator, Garcia said, traced thefts for some of the victims to a gas station credit card skimming device in Los Angeles.
Garcia advised residents paying with credit cards to use gas station terminals that face the street because he said criminals are less likely to place skimming devices on those pumps to avoid being seen.