January 3, 2017

Welcome to the January Issue of the Security Spotlight

Stationing Guards at Branches

Bankers often ask our opinion on whether they should employ an armed guard. Before making that decision, give some thought to the following questions:

  1. Is the guard there to keep certain people out or to act as a deterrent to robbery?
  2. Do you want the guard armed or unarmed?
  3. If you use an armed guard, is he or she an off-duty police officer or from a specially trained guard company?
  4. If the guard is armed, whom do you want them to shoot?

After a bad robbery, a guard stationed at your office while staff receives counseling for a couple of weeks is a good thing. If you are located where transients enter your lobby for free food or to hassle your customers, an unarmed guard may be an option. If you are in an area with frequent robberies or gang activity, an armed guard might be a consideration, or a mantrap instead of a guard might be a better alternative. The decisions here are really based on your location, physical surroundings and frequency of problems.


Fearless fugitive found...According to recent CDC reports, not only has heroin use more than doubled in the past decade among young adults, heroin deaths rose 23 percent in one year – surpassing gun-related homicides for the first time. Use of the fatal drug can lead to risky and illegal behavior, including violent crimes. Wyatt Peterson, 33, is a known chronic heroin user who became an armed and dangerous criminal. With no pattern or consistency to his crimes – and no attempt to conceal his identity – Wyatt is suspected of committing at least 18 armed robberies (including banks) since November 1 in the Las Vegas area. During one of his latest robberies, he fired a weapon for the first time, indicating that his level of violence was escalating. After the dangerous and fearless fugitive evaded capture on December 16, the FBI and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department requested the public's help and offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. On December 21, officers responded to another armed attack on a local business perpetrated by Peterson. When agents converged on a nearby home where they believed he was hiding after the robbery, Peterson ran and invaded another nearby residence. When he attempted to flee from that house, he was successfully apprehended by the FBI's Las Vegas Criminal Apprehension Team Task Force. Peterson will be starting his New Year off behind bars, with a forced resolution to get clean.

Check our Bank Robbery page for photos and information on the latest unknown bank bandits, many of them with sunglasses, hats or other head and facial coverings disguising their identity. Enforcing a no hats, hoods and sunglasses policy can help reduce the number of bandits who target your bank. Purchase No Hat Cling signs for all of your branches from the Banker Store.

Hot Topics from the Bankers Forums

There were a few discussions in BankersOnline's public Security forum last month. Those discussions included two inquiries: Is there any clarification on what "periodic" security training really means? and, what happens when staff reductions reduce dual control procedures? A third thread was an inquiry into when a security officer should be full time. Check out these discussions, and more here.

You'll find active discussions on more sensitive security topics in our "Private Security Forum," where bankers discuss issues out of public view. There's also a private forum that invites participation by bankers, regulators and members of law enforcement.

The private forums are the place for security officers to discuss topics like the hostage story at a Florida CU that was robbed, tornado shelters in banks, and more. If you're a registered user of BOL's Discussion Forums, but don't see the Private - Financial Institution Personnel Only forums near the top of the Forums list, use your bank email address to send an access request to brenda@bankersonline.com. Once your request is approved, you can access the Private Security forum here.

CrimeDex Alerts

BOL CrimeDex -- No holidays for crooks

Scammers, skimmers, and schemers. Card crackers, credit card cloners, and counterfeiters. Forgers, fraudsters, and flim-flammers. These are just some of the reasons for signing up for a free membership in BOL CrimeDex. being able to post surveillance photos of suspects in a new account check fraud and get help identifying them. Or reading an alert from another debit card issuer who has identified a nearby common point of compromise where multiple cards have been skimmed. How about checking out a "help us identify" alert and seeing a surveillance photo of your next-door neighbor holding up a bank! Here is a short selection from the more than 400 alerts posted in December:

  • A Citizens Bank alert asking for help in identifying a male "person of interest" in a possible check fraud ring operation in the Detroit area. This alert may involve a Facebook post looking for anyone with accounts at two Detroit area banks who would like to make some money.
  • A county sheriff in North Carolina posted surveillance photos of two suspects alleged to have used stolen IDs to open a Home Depot line of credit and purchase $1,700 in merchandise.
  • A Kroger Co. alert tells the story of two individuals who drove a stolen pickup through the front wall of a Kroger store in Fort Worth at 3:30 in the morning in an attempt to steal the ATM located there. The truck, though, wasn't up to the task, and was disabled by the impact. The suspects fled the scene. The Kroger investigator said he was "seeking any positive intelligence" -- the suspects didn't demonstrate any -- "and/or other information" about the attempt.
  • The Postal Inspection Service requested information on any incidents involving check alterations by a suspect named in the alert. The suspect allegedly steals mail in the Mobile, Alabama, area, alters checks found in the stolen mail to make herself the payee, and negotiates them.
  • A Colorado bank posted surveillance photos of a suspect in a series of customer impersonations. The suspect wore a finger splint as a ruse to explain a signature that failed to match the actual customer's signature.
  • Police on Cape Cod in Massachusetts reported fraudulent purchases in small amounts using counterfeit $100 American Express traveler's checks. The detective who posted the alert sought to discuss the case with other law enforcement officials with similar cases to help solidify leads on the source of the counterfeits.

Consider starting off 2017 on the right foot with a free BOL CrimeDex membership. If you have access to our private forums, read the "CrimeDex Service FREE" notice in the second thread of the "Private - FI Personnel Only" forum.

Facebook Blog
Throughout the month, we share news-related incidents on Facebook that can be informative examples for training employees on security issues and more. We appreciate the "Likes" and encourage you to share our page with your fellow Security Officers and bankers, and ask them to "Like" us so they too can stay updated on the latest news.

December was somewhat of a slow month, with most of the incidents posted the week before the holidays. In case you missed them, you can catch up the following posts:

  • The first post of the month on December 2 is about a violent bank robbery that involved 11 hostages. The hostages were released after several hours, and the gunman surrendered. The case raises some probing questions and provides some takeaway lessons to consider in the event this happens at your bank.
  • Our December 8 post details how internal information allowed a former ATM company employee to reprogram an ATM's cash dispenser.
  • Not all threats are external. On occasion bank employees go rogue. On December 9, we shared a story about a female employee who stole more than $1 million over a seven-year period.
  • Are GPS trackers really effective? Yes. To find out why, read our December 19 story about the robber who got away with $10,000 – for about 10 minutes.
  • One good thing about robbers who follow the same MO is that it makes it easier to connect them to multiple crimes. Such was the case with the Buckeye Bandit featured in our second December 19 post.
  • Female bank robbers are not too common. Those who threaten the life of a teller are even more uncommon – and more frightening. Check out the December 20 post for the details.
  • Why should your tellers try to retain a bank robber's note? Maybe because it could contain identifying information? If you think that doesn't happen, you will want to read our December 20 post.
  • As Barry Thompson pointed out in his security tip, bank guards may or may not be armed. But armored car guards are, and trying to rob an armored car is an invitation to a shootout. Check out the December 21 post and consider what happens if this occurs outside your branch.
  • What motivates a clean-cut college athlete to start robbing banks? Read the story posted on December 21 to find out what motivated Anthony Curcio.
  • Who has the authority to release a teller hold at your bank? The answer to this question found in our December 21 post is the same for the bank who asked "who stole $300K from us?"
  • And our last post before the holiday week on December 22 about the "Blues Bandit" contains a lesson on how to be proactive in preventing a fourth robbery at the same bank, by the same robber.
Read about these and other informative topics on our BOL Facebook page. Be sure to "Like" the articles so we can continue to post more articles of interest to you!

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