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UPDATED: Identity thefts stem from Chinese buffet

Credit and debit card information compromised at Glenmont restaurant

There were several people at the Golden Town Buffet in Glenmont on Tuesday, Aug. 6. Bethlehem police the previous day allegedly discovered several customers who visited the restaurant had their credit and debit card information stolen.

There were several people at the Golden Town Buffet in Glenmont on Tuesday, Aug. 6. Bethlehem police the previous day allegedly discovered several customers who visited the restaurant had their credit and debit card information stolen. Photo by John Purcell.

— According to court documents, Hornick asked Li on Monday where he obtained the skimmer device from.

"A lady in city," Li replied.

The detective then asked how many people's information was stolen. Li said "lots."

Hornick also asked if the number was around 10 to 20 people. Li said "No, more like 50 to 100 or more." Hornick asked if that information was on the device at the time of Li's arrest, and Li replied "yes."

Hornick said the device seized has the capability to store the information for about 500 to 1000 people. Authorities are now attempting to get a search warrant for the device.

The information was being used to make small purchases at Golden Town Buffet and large purchases, such as gift cards, from other establishments.

Li was charged with felony counts of criminal possession of a forged Instrument in the second degree, scheming to defraud in the first degree, and misdemeanor counts of unlawful possession of a skimmer device and unlawful possession of personal identification information in the third degree. Li was also charged with having an outstanding federal warrant for deportation.

Police are asking anyone who went to the eatery between June 15 and August 5, and paid by credit or debit card, to check their bank statements and immediately report any fraudulent transactions.

Hornick said the skimmer used was not inserted into the restaurant's credit card machine, but was something Li could hold in his hand. Police are warning customers to not let their debit or credit cards out of their sight when dining out and to keep an eye on their bank statements.

Police said the owners of the restaurant are cooperating with the investigation. Golden Town Buffet is still open, but only accepting cash at this time.

Li was arraigned in the Town of Bethlehem Justice Court and remanded to the Albany County Jail without bail. Heis scheduled to return to Bethlehem Court on Thursday, Aug. 8 at 3 p.m.

The Bethlehem Police are being assisted in this investigation by the Albany Police, Colonie Police, New York State Police New Scotland, New York State Police Clifton Park, East Greenbush Police, US Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security.

Police said the investigation is still active and more information will be released as soon as it becomes available. Further charges are pending.

Spotlight reporter John Purcell contributed to this story.

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