For Immediate ReleasePress Contact: Sgt. Mary Kusmiss S-6, Public Information Officer, (510) 981-5780
THIEVES FOCUS ON BANK ATMS
Berkeley, California (Wednesday, October 06, 2010) - The City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) Property and Fraud detectives are warning the community about a growing crime trend. In 2010, there have been approximately 23 cases in which suspects easily gain access to Bank of America (BofA) debit and credit cards at the branches’ Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). Community members make a transaction and forget to get their cards before walking away.
Thieves have learned of this and stake out BofA ATMs as a result. As soon as the customer walks away, the suspect can access the customer account and make withdrawals. These suspects have stolen on an average $400 in each case plus any additional charges they can make prior to the customer cancelling his or her account. The suspects often sit in a car, act like they are talking on the phone or panhandle in front of the ATMS while they watch customers.
BPD detectives have been working with BofA representatives to address the trend. Bank
management has responded by increasing the volume of the beeping sound that alerts customers to take their cards. They are also in the process of hiring security personnel for the branches. BPD is also asking for the community’s help in reducing these crimes by being vigilant when making ATM transactions, develop a method to remind yourself to take your card and immediately alert others if he/she has forgotten a card.
Excellent work by BPD patrol personnel and detectives lead to the arrests of two suspects who had been actively committing thefts at Berkeley BofA ATMs.(below) Detectives know that there are other suspects engaged in the same criminal activity.
If community members note suspicious activity, they are encouraged to call the BPD Non Emergency dispatch line (510)981-5900. For crimes in progress, call 911 or (510)981-5911 from a cell phone.
Nau Macminh Jason Miller