MARTA: Breeze card hackers arrested and charged with racketeering

Seven suspects taken into custody


Seven metro Atlanta residents are facing theft, fraud, and racketeering charges for allegedly selling counterfeit MARTA Breeze cards.

MARTA Police Chief Wanda Dunham this afternoon said that investigators have identified seven suspects, ranging from ages 22 to 46, tied to an alleged Breeze card scheme.

According to a police report, a MARTA revenue department employee earlier this month noticed signs of fraudulent activity coming from a handful of fare cards issued from the Chamblee MARTA station’s vending machines. The transit agency’s police officers reviewed security footage and learned that a male suspect had purchased multiple Breeze cards for $1 each on two separate days in November.

The transit agency says the group then managed to bypass the card’s security features to boost the card values. MARTA did not specify the amounts that were added to the cards.

Five suspects - Pierre Metteaux, Jedadia Byda, Melvin Summers Jr., Christine Carney, and Stephanie Finger - were arrested on Dec. 10 and charged with financial transaction card fraud and racketeering. Two other accomplices, Brenda Small and Michaell Dallas, were later taken into custody and charged with one count each of racketeering.

All seven of the alleged hackers were booked at the DeKalb County Jail and have been held on bonds that range from $5,000 to $21,000. Small so far was the only suspect released after posting $7,500 bond.

“We take these crimes very seriously and will continue to investigate each and every case thoroughly,” Dunham said in a statement. “We are working closely with the DeKalb District Attorney’s office and will seek to ensure that those involved are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

MARTA spokesman Lyle Harris says that no personal data from legally purchased fare cards was compromised. The investigation is ongoing.