Police warn elderly of debit card theft scheme

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Winter Garden police are searching for the thieves who are stealing debit cards from elderly victims.  Investigators said a man used stolen ATM debit cards that belonged to people like Ruth Altenburg.
 
"This funny looking person there, came picked it up and off they went," she said.
 
Altenburg, 89, said a woman called, pretending to be from a bank, telling Ruth that she needed to replace her debit card.
 
Investigators said several people got the call.  In all the cases, the elderly victims were told that a representative would come by and pick up the debit card.
 
"I says, 'No, I don't think I like it! I think I go to the bank and give it to you! No, you don't have to do this and you're a sick person!'  She knew I was sick... she knew everything."
 
Altenburg is oxygen most of the time.  She said she left the debit card hanging from a door, and two minutes later, someone came and picked it up.
 
"He had that colorful hat on, looked like a small person."
 
Police said this suspect is around 25 years old.
 
"They came in a nice black car," Altenburg explained.
 
She said she had a bad feeling that something wasn't right. At first, she was afraid to call the authorities.
 
"I didn't want the police come in front of my door, because I looks like I've done something."
 
Police said the suspects also retrieved the victim's pin numbers and would go on a spending spree or just take the money in their accounts. Altenburg said they took more than a thousand dollars. She has a message for the thief.
 
"I'll ring his neck, like you ring a neck from a chicken."
 
Anyone with information is asked to call the Winter Garden Police Department or Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477).
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