Connecting The Dots Of The Fake Priest - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

07/18/07-Tyler

Connecting The Dots Of The Fake Priest

All over the nation, stories about the "crook in the collar" are coming to light.  One of the victims calls his robber very smooth.

"When the lady [at Bank of America] called me and told me our bank account was going down to zero, and there was a lot of activity, I went on the Internet, and it just kept going down. It all came from a CVS drugstore," says Ed Witt of Corona, Calif.   

A wallet belonging to Witt's wife was stolen right from a nurses' station at Corona Regional Medical Center in California.  That's where she worked.  Hours after the theft, the couple's accounts were drained.

In the surveillance video, a suspect The fake priest told the clerk he was buying gift cards. That just one incident of what we're learning are several. 

And it gets worse.

Just a week earlier, halfway across the country from Corona in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, there was another robbery.

"He had blue jeans on, and a black shirt, and a white collar," says Sioux Falls Police Public Information Officer Loren McManus. 

"He entered the E.R. department of one of our local hospitals, and was able to gain access to that part of the E.R. and took a patient's wallet.  He went out on a spending spree," McManus said.

Police think he quickly left Sioux Falls, to where we don't know just yet.  He left with all the things he bought, and possibly a companion for the road.

"We know that he went to a couple of places in town.  One of which was a pet store where purchased a new puppy," McManus said.

Back in California, Ed Witt says the bank has taken care of his $3,500 in fraud, but he and his wife have learned a lesson.

"One of the things we found out is that we had a lot of credit cards in our wallet that we didn't even use.  So we've cut down a lot on our credit cards, to where we don't have a lot of them in there now. So there was a real eye opener there for us," he said.

The stories from around the country seem to be coming together, and police say that's a good thing.

Since we broke the story last week, there's been a lot of interest from media around the country.  Police say casting a spotlight on the crook is the fastest way for him to be caught.

Morgan Palmer, reporting.

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