Feeds

Camera phones linked to SA bank theft muggings

Snap, bang, wallop...

Boost IT visibility and business value

South African muggers are using camera phones to capture pictures of potential victims in banks before their accomplices stalk and rob them, according to reports.

The ruse is helping street thieves in the Walmer district of Port Elizabeth to target well-heeled victims, according to police spokesman Captain Verna Brink. "This way the person is not actually followed out of the bank, and there is very little suspicion aroused," Brink said, the Herald reports.

Among the victims of the suspected theft tactic was former SA hockey coach Brian Hibbert, who was attacked and robbed of R12,000 ($1,760) by armed men brandishing a knife and gun. Hibbert was left with three stab wounds in his right hand after he was overpowered by violent thieves last week shortly after taking a bag containing recently-withdrawn money from his car boot. The attack happened some distance away from the bank where he made the withdrawal. An unnamed female victim was also robbed in a second incident in the same area. Both cases remain unsolved.

Local police are urging banks to prohibit the use of camera phones on their premises. Theft of a different sort - fears over the use of camera phones to help low-level fraudsters to get a clean getaway or to help blaggers to case premises in preparation for armed robberies - has prompted a number of US banks to prohibit the use of mobiles on their premises.

First National Bank branches in Chicago has joined with banks in Citizens Bank of Northern California and Indianan-based Citizens Financial Bank in banning the technology. The phenomenon is not confined to the US. Banks in Mexico City began banning mobiles in May as part of attempts to foil armed robberies, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The Illinois Bankers' Association encourages its members to prohibit hats, hoods and sunglasses - which might be used by miscreants to avoid their picture being captured by security cameras - in an effort to cut down on robberies.

Opinions are split on the feasibility on enforcing a mobile phone ban in bank lobbies, the Chicago Tribune reports. FBI agent Thomas Weber said the use of mobiles in the commission of bank robberies is uncommon but he encourages banks to implement any reasonable security precautions they deem necessary. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
EE: STILL Blighty's best mobe network, says 'Frappucino' Moore
Fresh round of network stats fisticuffs possibly on the cards here
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.