Bismark Rodriguez, 58, was arrested Tuesday and faces charges including grand theft and fraudulent use of a credit card, according to Miami-Dade Corrections. Rodriguez, who pled not guilty to the crime, remains in custody on $10,000 bond.
Victim of the fraud, Thomas Mokross, had $1,400 taken from his account within five minutes.
“He saw my card was left inside and he kept going and withdrawing over and over,” he said about the thief.
Bank of America, now running a pilot program to prevent the thefts, said it may change all of its ATMs in the region. Police said other banks are also looking into their systems.
Miami Beach police Sgt. Gilberto Ortiz said he was alerted to the crime after users reported an unusual number of thefts from their accounts. He said Rodriguez and other men waited to use the machine as soon as the customer walked away.
“They would watch and rush the machine and hit 'other transaction,'” Ortiz said.
Bank of America officials told police that about $750,000 has been stolen from ATMs in the region.
Ortiz exclusively told NBC 6 he found the ATM machine would keep the customers' card until after the money was dispensed, causing distracted customers to walk away without their card. But Ortiz also said that money was still stolen even if users remembered to take their cards.
“They would get their card back, but the ATM would still be active,” he said. “It would still be asking you if you needed another transaction.”
Police, who worked with banks on Miami Beach to make updates, are working to track down others guilty of the crime. They advise ATM users to stay off their cellphone, pay attention and make sure they leave with their cards.