ATM stalker tricks elderly woman out of $800

Posted at 1:59 AM, Mar 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-23 02:00:56-04

An 83-year-old woman who only wanted us to call her “Donna” said she was rushed away from a Bank of America ATM before she closed out and a thief took $800 out of her account.

“In retrospect, I feel stupid,” Donna, who didn't want us to use her last name said.  “But, when things happen fast sometimes you just don't pin point them.”

Donna said she was making a deposit and waiting for her receipt when a man next to her said his machine was broken.  He jumped in front of her before she could close out her transaction.

“I said did you finish (my transaction) and he said ‘oh, yes.  I put my card in.’  I said OK.  And then I thought I don't really know if he put his card in.”

That’s when Donna went back to talk to the man.

“I watched him make two withdrawals thought that was weird, went to talk to him and he left,” Donna said.  “I checked my balance and it was $800 less than it was 5 minutes before.”

Sarasota Sheriff’s Spokesperson Kaitlyn Johnston said they are investigating Donna’s case and a realized it is connected to other ATM thefts.

“He might be connected to two other similar crimes that date back to December and earlier in March,” Johnston said.  

Deputies urge people to always make sure they close out their transaction no matter what.  And, if possible use the ATM’s located inside the bank.  Donna said unfortunately the Bank of America she uses at 3600 Bee Ridge Road does not have an ATM inside.

“I didn't know he was watching me,” Donna said.  “I’ll still use the same ATM.  I will just be more cautious.  It's so sad.  We are trusting and you can't be anymore.”

Anyone with information on this suspect or crime should contact Criminal Investigations at 941.861.4964 or submit an anonymous tip through Crime Stoppers of Sarasota by calling 941.366.TIPS (8477).