Three people from Laval, Que., were arraigned in Halifax provincial court yesterday on nine theft charges related to debit-card scams in Halifax and Dartmouth.
A 19-year-old woman, Eva Abittan, and two men, Adnane El Sehdi, 19, and Ragavan Palanivel, 24, appeared after staying in jail overnight.
The three suspects were picked up Wednesday in Park Lane after security recognized them. Police allege they stole two bankcard machines from Staples in Dartmouth and stores in Scotia Square and Park Lane Tuesday night. None of the accused has a criminal record, the court heard, though Palanivel faces charges for similar offences in Montreal.
The men stared ahead yesterday as their lawyer waived the reading of the charges.
El Sehdi, who looked slightly bewildered, expressed through his lawyer the need for a French-English interpreter.
Arbittan, a chic-looking young woman with lustrous black hair, sat with her lips pursed and legs crossed. She flipped her hair to hide her face when leaving court.
Police say hundreds in the Halifax area have lost money to scammers, usually from outside the province, who come to town, swipe the machines, replace them with doctored ones, and come back in a week or two to pick up the doctored keypads.
Halifax regional police Const. Jeff Carr said they don’t believe the three arrested this week are responsible for all the recent scams.
“Whether they’re separate or working as part of a larger organization, that’s all part of our investigation,” Carr said.