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BankersOnline Security Spotlight

Some financial institutions are taking the risk of opening the branch offices with just one person.Since this isn't the industry standard, any institution that does so may face legal liability if someone is hurt or falsely accused of internal fraud. What seems like a good way to reduce costs will result in the loss of dual control over areas containing cash or negotiable instruments, which could in turn result in internal fraud or a morning glory robbery.
Training WebinarsElder Fraud: The Baby Boomers' Nightmare
March 8

by Barry Thompson and Arvin Clar

As baby boomers age "elder fraud" will become the fastest growing swindle in our country. Elder fraud often goes unreported because the victims don't want anyone to know they were deceived.This webinar will instruct you on how to pinpoint suspicious transactions on senior citizens' accounts and the steps your institution should take to notify and protect your elderly customers.Payment Processor Relationships - Revised Guidance
April 10

by Paul Carrubba and Dan Fisher

As baby boomers age "elder fraud" will become the fastest growing swindle in our country. Elder fraud often goes unreported because the victims don't want anyone to know they were deceived.This webinar will instruct you on how to pinpoint suspicious transactions on senior citizens' accounts and the steps your institution should take to notify and protect your elderly customers.

Security Products
in the Banker Store

Bogus Cashier's Checks: Protecting Your Bank and Customers

25 Critical Security Mistakes a Smart Institution NEVER Makes

The Beginning Security Officer Series!

Stealing From Within:
Embezzlement & Data Theft

Working With Liars, Cheats & Thieves

Welcome to the March issue of Security Spotlight
In this month's Security Spotlight, read about an ill-planned bank robbery getaway and a young thief's interest in who saw him on the news. And the short month of February saw a lot of action with repeat offenders and CrimeDex alerts. Don't miss our featured CrimeDex alert of the month!
Ill-prepared and Infamous...
Getaway fare required - Bank robbery 101: public transportation isn't ideal when planning your getaway, but if it's necessary, make sure you bring along cab fare to pay for the ride. Trevor Gladston, 39, must have skipped that lesson before he attempted to rob a Wells Fargo bank in Chamblee, Ga. Gladston walked into the bank and handed the teller a note that read "give me the money or we start shooting."Feeling safe behind the bulletproof glass, the teller denied the request, stepped back away from the teller window, and Gladston left empty-handed.The would-be bandit made his getaway in a cab that took him to his parked car at the Chamblee bus station. There, he told the cab driver he didn't have money for the fare.The driver blocked his car with the taxi and flagged down a transit police officer.The officer, unaware there had been a bank robbery, convinced Gladston to go back to the bank so he could withdraw enough money to pay for the cab fare. When Gladston returned to the bank to withdraw cash - legally - bank employees identified him as the attempted bank robber and police arrested him. He was charged with attempted armed robbery. His fare to the county jail was free.

Five days of fame...
Some people will do just about anything for their "fifteen minutes of fame" - even rob a bank.Telling his dad he was going to collect money he?d earned for plumbing work, Brett Timpone, 26, of Melrose Park, FL borrowed his dad?s car, drove to Romeoville PNC Bank, and handed the teller a note demanding "$1,000 in 100s."The teller asked Timpone if it was alright if some of the bills were 50s and inserted $50 bait bills. The robber took the money and the demand note and fled on foot.Five days after the robbery, Timpone's father called the bank manager at PNC and told him that it was his son who had robbed the bank. Timpone surrendered to the authorities. As he was being processed, he reportedly asked the police if they got a lot of tips on him. Timpone was turned over to the FBI and charged with bank robbery. Those five days of fame may cost him up to 20 years in prison.

Check our Bank Robbery page for photos and information on the latest robbery suspects. Of the 38 unknown bank bandits in our suspects gallery for February, only 3 were not wearing hats or some other type of head covering.The use of signs enforcing the "no hats, no hoods, no sunglasses" policy (available in the Banker Store) could reduce the number of robbers who target your bank.

Crime Prevention Update and Mistaken/Unmistaken Identities

Crime Prevention Program Update - In the February Security Spotlight we featured "The Bandit Shield," a new program that helps financial institutions conduct robbery training and, more importantly, how to turn would-be bank robbers away by making your bank a less desirable target. In that article, we reported that "banks who qualify for The Bandit Shield Program must participate in training exercises which include mock robberies and must have state of the art surveillance cameras." We have received further clarification from FBI Special Agent Dennis May that the mock training is, in fact, optional not a requirement. The FBI will provide institutions with PowerPoint training on best practices and what helps and what doesn't with regard to prevention, including optional mock robbery training. The PPT lasts nearly two hours with a third hour added if the mock robbery is added. Special Agent May can be contacted at for additional details. This program is currently limited to selected areas, but if successful and in widespread demand, it could become available nationally.

Push the button - yes or no? - Rodolfo Valladares, 46 years old and weighing over 200 pounds, was wearing a Miami Heat baseball cap when he entered a Bank of America branch to deposit a $100 check. The teller thought he looked similar to a previous robbery suspect who was in his 60s, weighed 145 pounds, and wore a Miami Heat cap. Valladares didn't display a weapon, ask for money and or make any written or verbal threats. But the teller pushed the silent alarm and police were called to the scene. Valladares subsequently filed a lawsuit allegeding that he was beaten, kicked in the head and handcuffed by responding officers before they determined it was a case of mistaken identity, the bank cashed his check and he was released. Valladares claims to suffer from chronic headaches, damage to his vision and post-traumatic stress disorder from "being kicked in the head by a SWAT Team member brandishing a machine gun that was aimed at his head as he lay face down on the floor of the bank." Three years later, the bank has been found negligent, at least partially responsible for his injuries, and ordered to pay Valladares $3.3 million.

Recidivism does happen - Rodolfo Valladares' may have been an unusual case of mistaken identity, but there was no mistaking Michael Partridge as a repeat offender in February. Partridge was convicted in Mississippi of "simple robbery" in 2009 when he robbed a bank unarmed. He was sentenced to ten years in prison followed by five years probation. His sentence was suspended upon his successful completion of an alcohol and drug program, which he completed in 2010. Partridge has been arrested - again - for a similar "simple" bank robbery that occurred in Hattiesburg, MS on February 27.

Recidivism does happen, Recidivism does happen - Not all bank-related thefts involve a robber demanding money from a teller.Tyrone Michael Brinkley has been identified as the man responsible for throwing stones to break the glass doors of a K & S Bank branch in Clayton, NC and stealing a few hundred dollars in coins. A similar break-in was also reported at a Wells Fargo bank branch nearby the next night but nothing was stolen in that incident. Brinkley, who was identified from surveillance videos, is wanted in a nearby county for a similar offense. He was previously convicted as a habitual felon with numerous burglary and larceny convictions.

Camera phones in the bank - good - Near Houston, TX, Johnny Wayne Grace robbed a JP Morgan Chase bank in January. He handed the teller a note that read "Put the money in the bag. No dye packs," and further stated either "Don't pull the alarm" or "Only pull the alarm 15 minutes after we leave," according to police reports. Because the note referred to "we," the teller was afraid that an accomplice was watching or would come in and complied with the note out of fear. As Grace was leaving the bank, he held the door open for an employee who was coming into the building. The employee, who quickly figured out what had just happened, stepped outside and snapped a picture of the getaway car with her camera phone. With the photo of the car and a partial plate number, police were able to identify and apprehend Grace. Hats off to that quick thinking employee.

Alerts & Threads
The Private Forum area has two security sections where more sensitive discussions take place over things like what to do when you think a customer is being sucked into a Nigerian scam,constructing good SAR narratives, balancing security camera coverage of tellers and of customers, possible scams, 314a lists, and a lot more.You'll find all sorts of sensitive security topics being discussed in the Private Security and Private +Law Enforcement forums.

To comment in the BOL threads you must be a registered user. You can register here. If using your bank email account, you will be given access to the private forums.

A short month with lots of action!

BOL CrimeDex alerts landed in our inbox at the rate of more than three a day during February (we get them for all regions). The month started with a request for information on cases involving two women operating an account takeover ring in southern Florida. That was followed by a BOLO (be on the lookout) for an individual who has left behind a series of charged-off checking accounts in California. A Cambridge, Massachusetts, bank posted an alert that it has been returning as fraudulent a large number of counterfeit checks (deposited all over the country) claiming to be drawn on one of the bank's legitimate customers. A nationwide bank sought ID information on an unknown woman traveling across the country impersonating legitimate customers and withdrawing from their accounts in Washington, Arizona and Florida. There were also several alerts about robberies and burglaries at mobile phone stores.

Our featured alert of the month: A Pennsylvania federal credit union posted an alert about phony foreclosure notices listing the credit union as mortgagee with an "it may not be too late to save your home" message and an offer to help (with a toll-free number and West Coast business hours). The addressees were members of the credit union, but there was no foreclosure in process.

BOL CrimeDex can help your bank recover losses through cooperation with law enforcement, retailers and other bank security professionals. Subscribers can also help avoid losses by using CrimeDex alerts as training examples for staff members.

CrimeDex is now FREE to registered members of the Bankers' Threads
Private Security Forum! Get the details and subscribe now!

If you are a current registered user for the threads, but don't yet have access to the private forums, using your bank email address send a request for access to Once your registration/request is approved, you can access the Private Security forum here.

Blogging on Facebook
Read about the banker in Dayton, OH who was taken hostage with her family by three armed men who wanted her for access to the branch. She didn't even have a set of keys! The bank employee and her family were held overnight. When did you last train for this? Read the where, why and how on ourFacebook page.

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First published on 02/29/2012

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