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Scam artist makes off with loot from ATM machine

Thomson police are continuing to investigate a scam that netted a man an undisclosed amount of cash from a local bank's drive-thru ATM machine.

Investigator Lt. Scott Whittle said Monday that there had not been an arrest made in the case.

"Right now, I'm still investigating the case," Lt Whittle said.

He said a lone man, described as white and in his mid 20s, wearing a baseball cap and sun glasses, drove up to the ATM machine at First Bank about 10:48 p.m. last Tuesday and made more than 40 withdrawals using multiple debit cards.

"Since it's early in the investigation, I can't say a lot about it," Lt. Whittle said.

The man stayed at the new drive-thru ATM machine of First Bank of Georgia, located at 110 East Hill Street, for a little less than an hour, Lt. Whittle said.

"He was there until about 11:43 p.m.," the investigator said. "At one point, he allowed a customer to make a transaction at the machine before going back and picking up where he left off."

Lt. Whittle said he has alerted bank officials in two states about the scam - Georgia and South Carolina. He said Monday afternoon that he may discuss the crime with authorities of the U.S. Secret Service. Already, Lt. Whittle said he had contacted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Region 7 office in Thomson for assistance. GBI Case Agent Shanon Serigey is assisting Lt. Whittle in the probe.

"I would consider this a major scam operation," Lt. Whittle said, noting that the man had multiple debit cards and pin numbers. "He would have gotten away with a lot more money had all the transactions been approved."

He would not reveal exactly how much money was involved in the scam. The crime wasn't detected until a bank employee checked records two days later.

The suspect was believed to have used a white compact car.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Lt. Whittle at the Thomson Police Department, 706-595-2166 or the GBI office in Thomson at 706-595-2575.

Web posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007

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