Have you used an ATM in Cooper City, Florida lately? How about pretty much anywhere in South Florida? For the past couple years, some mildly tech savvy crooks have used a semi-sophisticated method to get your credit card data.
With the use of card reader, referred to as “skimmers”, thieves steal your data when you unwittingly swipe your credit card or debit card into one of their readers. Until last week, many of these crooks remained anonymous. But with the help of an ATM surveillance camera, detectives from the Broward Sheriff’s Office captured some nice data of their own – face pics.
At approximately 6:45 pm on September 1, 2015, these two yutzes were filmed on surveillance cameras placing the device on a Bank of America ATM machine. The bank is located at 5504 S. Flamingo Road in Cooper City. One crook installed the skimmer while the other stood by, most likely as a look-out.
This video marks a huge break in the case for detectives and prosecutors. One of the main issues in any criminal case concerns “identification” – which refers to evidence that a specific person committed a specific crime. Positive identification in a criminal case is essential.
In fact, when a prosecutor brings a case to trial, one of the most basic things that must be proven in every single case is the identity of the defendant as the person who committed the crime. In many cases this is very easy – a witness will simply point to the defendant and say “Thats the guy!”
However, this is not always the case. If a prosecutor fails to put on any evidence to prove identification, the judge will dismiss the case before it even goes to the jury for deliberation.
Consider this – how do you expect a prosecutor to prove a crime where there are no eye witnesses or where it is one person’s word against another, such as in a rape case? What about a case where the offender wore a mask or a disguise? What about cases where there are differing descriptions of the offender?
Proving the person sitting at the defense table is the person who committed the crime may not be as easy as you may have thought. In fact, many cases that go to trial hinge on the one issue of identification.
Without fail, the best evidence of identification is always a clear video. It is even better than DNA. While DNA can be extremely reliable, depending on the quality of the sample obtained by forensic investigators, seeing is always believing for juries.
On the other hand, bad video can be a friend of the defense – especially in cases where there is no other evidence or questionable eye witness claims. Bad video can be grainy, have electronic interference, be very dark, or simply filmed at a bad angle or behind some physical obstruction.
In any event, the take away from this case is that if you are going to commit a “smart crime” like one that requires technology and skimmers and computers and stuff like that, don’t do it half-assed… go all the way and be smart enough to not get caught on a bank video.
Anyone with information about this case should contact Det. Glenn Gainey at 954-435-2200 ext. 272 or report anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers of Broward County at (954) 493-TIPS (8477) or online at www.browardcrimestoppers.org. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $3,000 for information that leads to an arrest.