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Suspect tricks ATM out of $9,200

• Robber turns $440 into twenty times that amount using device

Posted: June 10, 2008 2:18 a.m.
Updated: August 11, 2008 5:01 a.m.
 

Deputies Monday were searching for a suspect with a device that duped an ATM into "thinking" it was handing out $1 bills, when it was really dispensing $20 bills.

The robber, whose gender and age were unknown, returned to an ATM inside the Valencia Embassy Suites Hotel on three different days over a period of two weeks, stealing $9,200 from the machine, which recorded dispensing just $440 in the transactions.

The first theft occurred on May 10. The suspect reportedly used the device to make four withdrawals recorded by the ATM as $40 each for what the machine "thought" was $160.

However, according to a sheriff's report filed Wednesday, the suspect's contraption actually garnered him or her $3,200.

On May 19, the suspect returned and reportedly made four more transactions - three $40 transactions and one $20 transaction. The suspect used the illegal gadget to confuse the ATM into believing it was dispensing amounts in $1 increments. The requested amounts in the May 19 transaction should have totaled $120, but the suspect actually withdrew $2,800, or a total of $6,000 since May 10.

A few days later, the suspect returned to the Embassy Suites and reportedly made four more $40 transactions at the same ATM, for a presumed total of $160. However, the suspect actually withdrew another $3,200, the sheriff's report said.

The hotel general manager suspected something was wrong when the amount of cash missing from the machine did not equal the amount of money it recorded as withdrawn.

Since May 23 the hotel has not reported further suspicious activity at its automated teller machines. The hotel did provide detectives with log sheets and audio-video evidence to help with the investigation, according to the sheriff's report.

The suspect was still at large Monday. Anyone who has information about the ATM thief is urged to call the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station at (661) 255-1121.

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