The incident happened about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday near the Florida Turnpike and U.S. 1 in south Miami-Dade County.
According to investigators, Randall Carlson, 58, from Fairbanks, Alaska —who is legally blind — and Patricia Gerondakis, 53, from Jackson, Wyoming were in their rental car trying to find their hotel when they were assisted by a man known only as Leon.
Police say Leon got in their rental car and helped them locate the hotel along the 10700 block of Caribbean Boulevard and helped them carry luggage to their room.
Later, police say, Leon and two accomplices returned to the hotel and knocked on the couple’s door — identifying themselves as hotel security.
The three men then forced their way inside, tied up Carlson and Gerondakis and took cash, cell phones and other personal property before fleeing in their rental car, according to police.
The rental car is identified as a black 2008 4-door Ford Focus with the tag K222RD.
No one was hurt during the incident, but Gerondakis was taken to an area hospital for a medical evaluation.
The couple told police they were at the hotel after visiting the Florida Keys.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Miami-Dade CrimeStoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).
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“Fake Guards” guilty in bank robbery scheme http://www.privateofficer.com
Two Maryland men were found guilty late Friday in a brazen bank heist in which robbers posed as security guards and the teller helped with the crime.
David Paul Mbom, 39, of Catonsville, and Robert T. Tataw, 43, of Windsor Mill, were found guilty of bank larceny and conspiracy to steal more than a half-million dollars from a BB&T bank in Wheaton earlier this year. The defendants face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
Prosecutors originally believed the head bank teller may have been the ringleader of the scheme because she had let a man posing as an armored truck guard into the bank and walk out with $547,500 in cash. But after further investigation, investigators said she may have been coerced into helping the robbers, according to court documents.
About a month before the robbery, a man walked up to the 9-year-old daughter of Elizabeth Tarke, 41, of Olney, and pointed a gun to the girl’s head before the young child ran away. Tarke later received a letter referencing the incident with the girl and threatening to harm her daughter and her family if Tarke didn’t cooperate in the robbery which was to take place sometime the following month.
On Jan. 9, 2008, a man wearing a black security guard uniform showed up at Tarke’s bank. The man told Tarke he was filling in for the regular courier, who he said was on vacation. She approved the delivery, and he walked out of the bank with the three bags of money.The next day, bank officials realized that they had been robbed when the official courier showed up for the scheduled pickup.
Law enforcement officials kept a surveillance team on Tarke’s home and saw Mbom leave her residence in a car driven by Tataw. Police eventually arrested the men and found tens of thousand of dollars in cash and a business card of the security guard company, and a store receipt for a black combat hat, security badge and gun holster.
Mbom and Tataw are scheduled to be sentenced April 20. Tarke pleaded guilty earlier this month to aiding and abetting the bank robbery. She faces up to 10 years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 20.
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Campus police arrest fake guards http://www.privateofficer.com
Two men are being held in a California jail who Tigard police say could be the fake bank security guards who fooled a couple of business people into giving up their night deposits.
The men, whose names were not released by Tigard police, face unrelated burglary charges in Alameda County, Calif. One is 19 and the other is 20. They were considered transients, not UC Berkeley students.
They were arrested about a week ago by University of California at Berkeley campus police in connection with a string of dormitory burglaries. During the investigation, campus police detectives discovered several odd items, such as fake security guard uniforms, security badges, ID cards, a pair of handcuffs and a blue sign instructing people that the night deposit box was broken and to give their deposits to the guards.
Tigard police discovered the arrests when California law enforcement officials sent a message about the case to Corvallis police, said Jim Wolf, Tigard Police Department spokesman. The message was forwarded to Tigard, which jumped on the case and obtained evidence photos and mug shots from Alameda County law enforcement.
Detectives said victims of the scam identified photos of the suspects.
Wolf said the issue has been turned over to the Washington County district attorney’s office, and his department expects a grand jury indictment “soon.”
The odd case began Aug. 15 when two businesspeople reported that fake security guards outside the Wells Fargo Bank, 9200 Washington Square Road, took their deposits.
Police said the two white men used very good disguises to con victims into handing over their bank deposits by presenting themselves as security guards, saying the night deposit box outside the bank is broken. The scam artists were wearing blue uniforms, with identification cards, some type of security badges and guns. They were standing in front of the night depository box attached to the bank Friday evening.
The men advised both victims that the night depository was out of service and they would collect any deposits and provide them to the bank the following morning. The two suspects had a black box, which they used to collect and store the deposits.
Both victims noticed a blue engraved sign positioned over the night depository door saying “Out of Service,” and both said the entire operation and appearance of the men looked “official.” In both cases, the victims gave their bank deposits to the men.
The bank has no knowledge of the two suspects and never authorized anyone to collect deposits from customers. Bank officials advised that they had no problems with the night depository that evening or ever.
The same scam was aired by the BBC program “The Real Hustle”, a television show that uses actors to scam people in everyday situations:.