BUSINESS ALERT: 'Romanian' traveling criminal gang strikes in Brown County

The Brillion News

BELLEVUE - The Brown County Sheriff's Department is warning area businesses of a Romanian criminal organization operating in the area and engaged in a quick-change scam that hit a business in the Village of Bellevue

Lt. Jody Lemmens identified three men as members of this international gang, known to police as the Rostas Organized Crime Group. This "family" includes over 500 people who wander the U.S. and Canada living off theft by fraud.


A press release issued by the sheriff's department said: "They use slight-of-hand to palm cash or jewelry, and while engaging in transactions with cashiers" in retail stores. They are known to use charm, intimidation and misdirection.

In October of 2019, a traffic stop by police was executed near County GV and State 172 in Bellevue. The vehicle was a gray 2019 Dodge Durango with Connecticut plates. In it were

Paul Vasile, age 37, Mircea Rostas, age 29, and Ivan Sava, age 18.

Deputies found over $10,000 in Target Visa gift cards and new electronics merchandise valued at as much as $20,000.

They claimed to have gotten the cards through their church, and were just on a sightseeing trip to South Dakota - with the gift cards to be handed out to homeless people on the trip.

The sheriff's department said the man had little luggage and didn't appear to know one another.

The deputies didn't have sufficient reason to hold them at the time. Since then, investigators have determined that they stole about $1,000 at the Bellevue Target store. Their quick-change frauds have since been linked to the same trio stopping in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Washington - with total losses estimated at $15,000.

The Brown County Sheriff's Department said Paul Vasile, and a 15-year old boy traveling with the group, are on the federal Terrorist Watch List.

These thieves hit banks, post offices, supermarkets, big box stores and jewelry stores. They generally do not use violence and depend on good acting and deception. They all speak English well, but often pretend they are not fluent in English.

THE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT issued a NEW ALERT on April 10 after learning that these criminals are operating in Wisconsin new. One of their new scams is PLACING SKIMMERS on outdoor ATM machines to steal debit card information from people using the ATM.

All of these people have dark hair and dark complexions. They are, ethnically, often referred to as Romany, Romani or Gypsy people. Their ethnic roots go back to what is now India.



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