Spring Hill, Florida - A heads up teller at a Spring Hill Bank of America helped Hernando Sheriff's detectives on Wednesday arrest Jessenia Colon.
Detectives say Colon was in the far drive-through lane and banking on getting $2,000 using a stolen check and a stolen I.D, but the teller noticed the checks had been red-flagged as stolen and she even tried to buy some time for responding deputies.
"She definitely asked the right questions and played the game well," said Det. Dustin Mormando at a Thursday afternoon news conference. "She was able to stall her long enough that deputies were able to get in the area."
Colon's arrest then led detectives to crimes in both Hillsborough and Pasco counties. On Tuesday, a woman pumping gas at a Hillsborough Shell station on N. Florida Avenue had her purse stolen. The same thing happened to another woman at a Cumberland Farms just a few miles north on State Road 54.
In recent weeks, that type of crime has popped up in the Tampa Bay area. Typically, a woman driver gets out to pump gas and leaves her purse on the driver's side of the vehicle. Then a thief will crouch low (out of the woman's sight), open the door, grab the purse and speed away in a car. It can all happen in just seconds.
Hernando detectives are now conferring with other law enforcement agencies, because they say it's possible that Colon is involved with a purse theft ring.
"This crew that we're investigating is involved in several cases in Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, Tampa, St. Pete and Miami," Mormando said.
So far Colon is charged with Organized Scheme to Defraud and Identity Theft.
Mormando also reminds women to lock their doors when they're pumping gas and to also keep their purses out of sight, because in some cases, the thieves have actually broken the vehicle's window.