Credit card crime: When the bank teller is the bank robber

I think by now we all know that if our credit cards are stolen, by all means, call the bank. The bank manager or teller is sort of like the neighborhood cop. If you're in trouble, that's who you go to.

Well, almost always.

As you'll see in a moment, in this week's look at unusual credit card crimes, in very rare instances your bank may be the last place you want to go. And now while you read this, I'm going to curl up in the fetal position and drink heavily, since red is apparently blue, and up is down. Or maybe I'll just stick with root beer. Our last story clearly shows that drinking and even thinking about credit cards can be a disastrous combination.

Credit card thief works at a bank

Apparently, Jason Wade Nickle decided that his paycheck wasn't substantial enough, and that he would need to moonlight as an identity thief. Nickle, an employee (former employee by now, I'm sure) of Regions Bank in Charlotte County, Fla., was recently arrested for ordering credit cards in three customers' names and then charging $7,445 to their accounts, according to a Sep. 13 report in the (Sarasota) Herald-Tribune.

Nickle allegedly had the credit cards mailed to himself at the bank and then used the credit cards in ATMs at banks, gas stations and a drug store.

The bank, said the Herald-Tribune, is planning to reimburse the customers. Gee, you think?

You're never too old…to steal

The Oregonian reported on Sep. 13 that a woman left her purse or some sort of bag on a chair in a Portland hospital waiting room and stepped away for a few moments, and that's when, allegedly, John Carnes, 75 years old, seized his opportunity to take her credit card. Within 15 seconds, judging from the security camera, he was able to grab her credit card and walk away. Afterward, he made his merry way to the hospital cafeteria.

And before you think, "Well, maybe this 75-year-old, who is probably living on a fixed income, just lost his head for a moment because he was so hungry," while that may or may not be true, authorities soon learned that he has done this before, fairly recently, at not just hospital waiting rooms but schools and churches.

It also gets more difficult to be sympathetic because Carnes reportedly has a long criminal career of identity theft. Still, it's always nice to see someone who refuses to let something as silly as age get in the way of what they enjoy doing, and in this case, he clearly enjoys stealing identities. I guess that's, um, something positive out of all of this. Remember, folks, age is just a number.

But this is even more heartwarming

Sure, they were breaking into a home, but isn't it always nice to hear about a father spending some quality time with his boys?

WTNH Channel 8 reported Sep. 14 that a father and his two sons were arrested in Tampa, Fla. for a burglary that went down in August in Woodbridge, Conn. Michael Coons, 47, and his two sons, Steven and Dillon, 22 and 19, were arrested for burglary, larceny, credit card theft, illegal use of a credit card and conspiracy. In a nutshell, they broke into a house and stole credit cards and other valuables, not knowing the resident was still inside and wisely hiding from the crooks. Then they evidently fled to Florida, where surveillance footage helped police catch them.

Anyone eat at McDonald's lately?

If you've patronized a McDonald's restaurant in Monticello, Minn., particularly in July or August, authorities advise you to check your credit card statement.

The St. Cloud Times ran a story on Sep. 13 about a juvenile staff member of McDonald's who probably won't be earning any employee of the month placards. This youth was allegedly collecting credit card information for a larger organization with one of those electronic skimming devices. McDonald's is cooperating with the sheriff's office, which reports that most of the victims have been white women, in case this helps anyone right now thinking, "Hey, I was in Minnesota recently…"

Beer and stupidity don't mix

Let's just say, for the sake of argument, that you, the reader, were going to go into a bar and after three beers, pretend that you were an FBI agent. And then you told the bartender that someone was going to come into the bar later with an AK-47.

What would you do next?

Would you come to your senses, apologize profusely for your comments and tell the bartender that it was the liquor talking?


Or would you pay for the three beers with your credit card and then be on your merry way?

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sep. 15, Joseph Liparulo allegedly took that second route, and thus, having given his identification to the bartender at the Helmet Heads Bar and Grill, Bethel Park, Penn., it wasn't long before the police showed up at his home. Liparulo reportedly confessed that he did identify himself as an FBI agent but insisted he said nothing about an AK-47. Police, in any case, found no weapons at his place.

Liparulo is all of 21 and is now looking at charges of making "terroristic threats," impersonating a public servant and engaging in disorderly conduct. Considering that this is his first year of being able to legally drink, he is not exactly off to a great start. If found guilty, instead of going into bars, he may be behind bars.

The original article can be found at card crime: When the bank teller is the bank robber