June 24, 2016

Mostly sunny

Cyber thieves hit pizza place

WADSWORTH — A local pizza shop unwittingly delivered credit card information to international cyber thieves.

Police Lt. Rob Wyrick said officers worked with the U.S. Secret Service and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to identify Romeo’s Pizza, 176 Great Oaks Trail, as the source of fraudulent charges on more than two dozen residents’ credit cards since March 6.

He said the pizza shop likely was the victim of malware, like a computer virus or spyware, which obtained credit and debit card data from customers and sold it illegally.

Wyrick said the shop wasn’t up to par on security standards held by credit card companies. No one was charged, he said, because the standards are not law and many of the card numbers had been used overseas, so it was out of his department’s jurisdiction.

Brad Burdette, owner of the Romeo’s Pizza in Wadsworth, said his shop has kept up with card security.

“They got in despite that,” Burdette said. “If someone wants in, I think they’re really going to get in.”

He said the shop has since strengthened its security.

“We were a victim; and as soon as we found out, we took more steps to secure the cards,” Burdette said. “It’s just more layers. It’s all you can do.”

Romeo’s Pizza is a Medina-based franchise with 31 locations in the Cleveland, Akron and Columbus areas.

Bob Wiesler, chief operating officer of the franchise, said: “The franchise owner has taken steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Fraudulent charges, which ranged from $20 to $2,600, originated in the United Kingdom, France, Costa Rica, the Internet and Arizona.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.

Nick Glunt About Nick Glunt

Nick Glunt primarily covers courts and crime in Medina County. He served The Gazette from September 2012 to December 2015. Contact him at (330) 721-4048 or via email at nglunt@medina-gazette.com.