It feels like a lifetime since we last had a spicy story involving 3D printing and crime to leer over. About a year ago, there was so much talk about the illicit potential of the technology that we had to dedicate a 1,200 word guide to the subject. Since then, however, we’ve heard little about how the criminal fraternity is making use of additive manufacturing in its unlawful endeavors. Sure, every so often there’s an alarmist flare up in the ever-hysterical legal and philosophical dead end that is 3D printed firearms, but not much more than that.
All of which makes this week’s arrest of Hamid P in Marseilles a cause for sordid celebration around Top 4 3D Printing HQ.
The French thief was tracked down at his home in the South of France with over €30,000 in cash, skimmed from ATMs in Nimes and Saint-Ambroix using a device created with a 3D printer. Police in the cities found two cash machines that had been fitted with fake fronts hiding cloning devices. The devices allowed Mr P to create his own version of inserted debit or credit cards, though they did not interrupt the processing of cash, meaning nobody was initially alarmed by the scam.
According to one local policeman:
The fake fronts were of good quality and were different to those we normally see.
Another stirring testament to the remarkable precision that 3D printing offers!
While Hamid can’t be faulted for his workmanship, his skills as a criminal mastermind are somewhat questionable. Police managed to track him down as he had used his own credit card to test the skimmers before installing them and his details were still saved on the devices that the police retrieved. After raiding his home, the gendarmes found his 3D printer and he is now charged with fraud.
The case echoes two previous stories, one that took place in America in 2011 and another that took place in Sydney, Australia last year involving the same technology. It seems, for the fashionable, forward-thinking crim, if you want to knock off a cash machine, 3D printing is the hippest tool in town.