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Leonia police arrest 5 outside bank in debit card, checking account theft

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Leonia police nabbed a quintet of Bronx thieves moments after one of them used a bogus debit card to withdraw money from an unwitting companies account, authorities told CLIFFVIEW PILOT last night.

Police believe the group, which was carrying $8,000 in cash, used the card at other branches, as well.

Officer Ray Forsdahl summoned backup after smelling burnt marijuana while talking to the driver of a car blocking a Broad Avenue driveway yesterday morning, Detective Sgt. Chris Garris said.

Forsdahl and Sgt. Chris Jones were talking with the driver, 22-year-old Michael Estime, and two passengers — Alyshia M. Watson, 26, and Manirou Ndiaye, 20 — when two others emerged from the Bank of America branch on the corner of Fort Lee Road, Garris said.

They were identified as Muhamadou M. Hydara, 20, and Muhammed Gumaneh, 21.

A search turned up marijuana on Ndiaye, who was sitting in the front seat — at which point additional backups Garris and Capt. Scott Tamagny arrived, Garris told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

Given permission by Estime to search the vehicle, Garris said, police found a check that wasn’t in the name of any of the five, the sergeant said.

The were also carrying two debit cards — one of which had a name matching the one on the check, he said.

A check at the bank determined the card was just used, Garris said.

After arresting all five, police found “a second check in another name and a Bank of America debit card matching that name,” he said.

“A check with the company whose name was on the checks revealed [them] to be fake [and] the account information accurate,” Garris noted.

Watson was released without bail pending a court hearing on charged of fraudulent use and theft of a credit card and theft.

The men were charged with similar offenses and sent to the Bergen County Jail on bails ranging from $10,000 to $25,000.

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