Irvine, CA – The Irvine Police Department (IPD) arrested two men for fraudulently accessing ATMs to steal money after watching victims use their personal identification numbers (PINs). Cleo Charles Nash, 36, and Jahmal Theodis Winston, 28, both of San Francisco, are being held on $100,000 bail for felony and misdemeanor theft-related charges.
On Oct. 3, 2015, IPD received a call from a bank manager regarding two suspicious males loitering near an ATM at a Bank of America (BOA) on Jamboree Road. The bank manager described the suspects’ behavior as watching over customer’s shoulders to observe their PIN as they used the ATM. When the customers walked away without closing their session, the suspects would use the stolen PIN and make a withdrawal on user’s open account. This criminal conduct is known as “shoulder surfing.” A short time after the initial call, a citizen reported that an unlawful $200 withdrawal had been made from their bank account after using the same ATM on Jamboree Road. IPD responded began an investigation.
While the initial report was being taken, IPD received a call from a witness regarding similar suspicious activity at a Bank of America on Culver Drive. The witness provided a description of the two suspects, matching the description from the previous incident, and provided officers with the license plate number and vehicle description of the two men.
An IPD officer patrolling the area observed the suspects’ vehicle driving on Irvine Center Drive near the 405 Freeway and conducted a car stop. Nash and Winston were found in possession of a large amount of cash and arrested at the scene.
Based on the investigation, it is believed that Nash and Winston are part of a larger theft ring, which may be responsible for several similar crimes throughout Orange and Los Angeles Counties. Anyone with additional information or who believes they have been a victim is encouraged to contact IPD Detective Melissa Partida at 949-724-7180.
IPD reminds residents to be aware of one’s surroundings when using an ATM, cover the keypad with your hand when entering a PIN number, and fully “end” your session and close your account when you complete your transaction. This short video provides additional tips and safety information for using ATMs:
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