Courtesy Los Angeles Police Department.
Courtesy Los Angeles Police Department.

Detectives released security photos Thursday of a man suspected of accessing a bank customer’s ATM account to withdraw $500 after the patron walked away from the machine.

The crime occurred at a Bank of America ATM at 8324 Van Nuys Blvd. in Panorama City on Sept. 1, the Los Angeles Police Department Mission Division reported.

The suspect is black, about 30 years of age, 5 feet 11 inches tall, with a medium build.

Pictures from the ATM camera show the suspect standing at the bank customer’s shoulder as he inserts his card and enters his PIN. After the customer leaves the ATM, the suspect steps up while transaction still active and makes another transaction.

“It’s called ‘shoulder surfing,’ and it happens more often than you think,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the LAPD Mission Detective Division, in a statement. “It’s a way for a crook to get into your ATM account without your ATM card.”

During this incident, the bank customer was wary of the suspect’s movements. He checked his account transactions after his ATM use to see the withdrawal.

Authorities warn all ATM users to beware of ‘shoulder surfing’ and to protect their PIN during entry with their other hand.

“Shoulder surfing can happen any place where debit keypads are used to enter PINs, like at convenience stores,” Lt. Vernon said. “I’ve seen situations where disreputable employees have installed cameras over keypads to capture PIN keystrokes at transactions.”

Anyone with information on this suspect and crime is urged to call Det. Janette McChesney, at (818) 838-9977, or Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS


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