Kimono owners apologize to credit card fraud victims - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Kimono owners apologize to credit card fraud victims

Suspects' photos (provided by Jonesboro Police Department) Suspects' photos (provided by Jonesboro Police Department)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Jonesboro police now say someone stole credit card numbers from more than 25 people that ate at Kimono Steak House on Main Street.

Since the weekend, Kimono in downtown Jonesboro has had a hard time filling tables. Business has dropped off severely since police said customers' credit cards got skimmed and then copied.

Owners Susan and Timothy Pan spoke out for the first time Wednesday hoping to save their business and rebuild trust within the community.

"We are providing all the information police are asking for regarding this case," Susan said. "We've been here, you know, in business 18 years already, so we never happened [anything] like that before."

Susan claimed she and her husband had no idea that someone was stealing customers' credit card numbers until Jonesboro police notified them. They said the two suspects photographed at a local Wal-Mart store have never worked at Kimono.

Brigitte Schwartz, who's worked as a hostess at the restaurant two years, said she's never seen the two suspects either.

"I don't recognize them as customers that have come in here even on several occasions," Schwartz said, "and they definitely have never worked here."

The Pans are unsure whether an employee that quit after two weeks on the job in early November is involved with this skimming scheme.

The suspects – described only as two Asian men in their mid- to early-20s – apparently used cloned credit cards and went on shopping sprees at Wal-Mart stores across the area. They bought electronics and gift cards at stores in Jonesboro, Paragould, Trumann, Newport, Walnut Ridge and Searcy. A victim filed a police report Tuesday claiming he ate at Kimono, and now someone has tried to use his credit card at a store in Illinois.

To reassure customers it's safe to eat at the restaurant again, the owners have taken extra steps to insure that customers are not at risk when using a credit card at Kimono. Susan said she and her husband will now be the only ones swiping people's cards, effective immediately.  

She would still like to say sorry to the customers whose cards got compromised.

"We're sad," Susan said. "We apologize for the situation, and we are trying really hard to help get the problem resolved."

The Pans are now offering a $2,000 reward to anyone who can provide information to the police that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for all these crimes.

The Jonesboro Police Department still asks Kimono customers to check their credit card statements and bank accounts and report any unusual charges.

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