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 someonestole credit card numbers from more than 25 people that ate at Kimono Steak Houseon Main Street.

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

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

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

Susan claimed she and her husband had no idea that someonewas stealing customers' credit card numbers until Jonesboro police notifiedthem. They said the two suspects photographed at a local Wal-Mart store havenever worked at Kimono.

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

"I don't recognize them as customers that have come in hereeven on several occasions," Schwartz said, "and they definitely have neverworked here."

The Pans are unsure whether an employee that quit after twoweeks 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 spreesat Wal-Mart stores across the area. They bought electronics and gift cards atstores in Jonesboro, Paragould, Trumann, Newport, Walnut Ridge and Searcy. Avictim filed a police report Tuesday claiming he ate at Kimono, and now someonehas tried to use his credit card at a store in Illinois.

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

She would still like to say sorry to the customers whosecards 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 canprovide information to the police that leads to the arrest and conviction ofthe person or persons responsible for all these crimes.

The Jonesboro Police Department still asks Kimono customersto check their credit card statements and bank accounts and report any unusualcharges.

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