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Police: Thieves Tricked ATM Users, Stole From Accounts

Suspects Have Struck 3 Times At Banco Popular In Crown Heights, Brooklyn

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police are asking for assistance from the public as they attempt to locate an unknown group of criminals who have tricked people into letting them withdraw from ATMs at a Brooklyn bank.

The thieves have been using a method called “shoulder surfing,” police explained Wednesday.

A suspect walks into an ATM lobby and waits for a victim to come in and dip his or her card into an ATM. The suspect then creates a distraction and guides the victim to use an adjacent ATM, with the victim not realizing the ATM he or she was initially going to use is already activated, police said.

The suspect then waits a few seconds, walks up to the first ATM, and looks over his shoulder to watch the victim enter a PIN number. The suspect then enters the victim’s PIN number on the first ATM and takes money out of the victim’s account, police said.

Three incidents occurred last month at the Banco Popular at 1117 Eastern Parkway in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn.

The first incident happened at 5:46 p.m., and the second at 5:50 p.m., on March 20. The third happened at 3:57 p.m. on March 24, police said.

Police have not released a description of any of the offenders, nor specified how many are involved, but they have released a surveillance video from the bank.

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD Crime Stoppers, at (800) 577-TIPS, log onto the Crime Stoppers Web site, or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and enter TIP577.

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