Chapstick bandits defraud banks

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - There is a crime ring operating in Concord and Charlotte-- defrauding banks out of thousands of dollars.

"They're called the chapstick bandits," said CMPD Officer Tori Roddey, "because one of the guys is putting chapstick on the camera."

From surveillance still pictures, we can see one man smearing lip balm, attempting to coat the lens of the ATM camera.

"Even though the chapstick bandit tried to erase his face, we still got pictures of him, clear pictures."

The are very clear photos of two men at different ATMs in Charlotte and Concord. And here's how their caper works-- it all starts with an account number and a counterfeit money order.

"They got somebody's pin number and ATM and are depositing these counterfeit money orders and they turn around and withdraw the money out, probably giving a portion to that person or the person could be make believe

They are apparently able to withdraw the cash before the money orders clear at the bank.

"They're depositing 5 to 6 checks about $980 apiece. One bank had been defrauded for over three thousand dollars."

Officer Roddey says if you notice your account suddenly getting a big deposit, then withdrawal, notify your bank and police.

And please call Crime Stoppers if you know anything about the chapstick bandits. There's reward money waiting at (704) 334-1600.

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