legalacidity's musings


Smooth Criminal

Sometimes I am baffled by the things people do. Especially criminals. Most times, I just shake my head and go on and soon forget about whatever absurdity I've just witnessed or read about. Like the time a firm that I clerked for was hired to defend a guy who had just come back from overseas in the military and found out that his girlfriend had been cheating on him. Turns out overseas military guy and the chick had a baby together, and overseas military guy wanted his kid. So he went over to the chick's house, and since the door was locked, went around to the back and shot out the sliding glass door. You know, so he could get the kid. No chance he was trying to kill anyone--and that's what he told us, that he just wanted to get his kid back. Only problem was that his ex-chick and her new lover were standing at the door looking at him when he pulled the trigger. Luckily, no one got hurt, but attempted murder charges are pretty hard to overcome in a situation like that.

A couple of weeks ago, something different happened that I still haven't figured out. I was running late to a poker game and stopped off at a local bank's drive-through ATM to withdraw some cash. I was in a hurry, so idiot that I am, I drove off with my debit card still sticking out of the machine. I didn't realize this at the time, although I did notice a giant "hey I'm a frat boy who got a new 4x4 with giant tires before I came to college" truck driven by Fratty McTruckBoy pull up behind me at the ATM.

The next day, I went to pay for dinner with my debit card and it wasn't there. After a quick review of the previous day's film in my head, I realized that I had to have left it sitting in the ATM machine. At first I was relieved--if you leave your card sitting in an ATM machine for more than, say, twenty seconds or so, the machine will suck your card back in and automatically shred it. But, as I remembered, a rolling insult to Ford had sidled up behind me as I drove off--could they have possibly taken my card?

I promptly forgot about the whole thing for a good 24 hours and at that point checked my online bank statement and realized that Lambda Lambda Lambda had indeed stolen my card. And boy, they had some fun.

There were three separate charges to a local bar totalling between $50 and $100. All on the same night, which happened to be a MONDAY. Separated by minutes. At least I know he likes to party. Tell me THAT'S not suspicious to whoever's running the card--unless the person running the card is the one who stole it. There were also two charges to a fairly nice Italian place downtown, both at lunch the next day, both mere minutes apart. It's almost as if this guy was going around and settling bar tabs and lunch bills for friends. Idiot.

Anyways, the total damage was somewhere in the neighborhood of $350-$400. Luckily, my bank, like pretty much every other bank, does not hold you responsible for fraudulent charges, so I got my money back. The thing that gets me though, is this: first, unless TruckBoy spends all of his time driving to different banks and following behind other customers to see if he can swipe a forgotten ATM card, then he is a customer of my bank. I bet he pulled up to the machine, saw my card, did the "I'll look around to see if anyone's looking" head turn, and then grabbed my card and burned rubber.

Second, they have cameras on ATMs. The cameras take pictures. Some ATMs have a continuously rolling video camera going; there may be other cameras, too, that capture your license plate number. Basically, the point here is how dumb do you have to be to steal something from an ATM machine? Banks care about their money, you know. A LOT.

But, I just read an article that says a lot of ATM cameras don't even work. So maybe TruckBoy finally pulled off his ultimate crime--after weeks and weeks of driving around to banks in the area and pulling up behind people at ATMs, someone finally left him a precious debit card that he could use to his heart's content.

I doubt it though--the bank fraud folks were pretty confident that they would catch him. Not confident as in "let's make the customer feel better" but confident in "we are so going to nail this guy." So good luck, TruckBoy--AmSouth's after you, and when a bank is trying to find someone who stole their money, they're worse than those CSI folks trying to track down the psychotic murderer of a French call girl. Come to think of it, CSI: Bank Fraud probably isn't too far down the road.

8:39 a.m. - 2005-09-28

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New Site - 2008-05-24

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