Phony Doctor Arrested for Hospital Theft Scam

The Oakland woman is suspected of stealing credit cards from staff at hospitals across the Bay Area, including Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz.

A woman suspected of posing as a doctor to break into staff-only areas of at least seven Northern California hospitals and steal credit cards from employee belongings was arrested earlier this month, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office reported Monday.

Yolanda Smith, 49, of Oakland was arrested in Fairfield on Jan. 22.

Smith reportedly donned a white lab coat and impersonated a doctor to enter secure areas of hospitals. It happened at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz during the lunch hour on Jan. 2.

"We had some pretty good information and leads about who she was so we've been trying to track her," Santa Cruz County sheriff's deputy April Skalland said.

Skalland said it's been difficult to identify the impostor doctor because she doesn't stay in one place for long.

Smith is also suspected of burglarizing hospitals in Daly City, Gilroy, Modesto, Tracy, Walnut Creek and Fairfield, where she was spotted by a hospital security guard. Fairfield Police made the arrest.

"Luckily, Fairfield picked her up," Skalland said. "She's wrecked havoc and hit a lot of people throughout the Bay Area."

Smith, who has a lengthy criminal history, allegedly scammed her way into staff-only areas by dressing like a doctor—she draped a stethoscope around her neck at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz. Once inside, she allegedly would pluck individual credit cards from purses or wallet, rather than steal the entire bag, according to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office.

"You wouldn't even know your credit cards were missing until you went into your wallet," Skalland said. "She got away with it at so many hospitals. she had, unfortunately, a good scam going."

Smith allegedly used the cards stolen from Dominican Hospital to make about $4,500 in purchases at Best Buy, Target and a gas station, according to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office.

Smith is suspected of multiple counts of burglary, identity theft and fraudulent use of a bank card, authorities reported.

Tonyb January 29, 2013 at 02:54 AM
How does one use a credit card without proper ID???? I need PIN numbers, zip codes and photo ID's 100% of the time.
Jane January 29, 2013 at 03:34 AM
Tonyb: Very, very easily. You must be using an ATM card, which requires a pin number. Credit cards don't require a pin. A person can easily make online purchases (every piece of information required is right there on the card). A person can also use a stolen card in person, because most of the time a sales clerk/cashier doesn't check ID. Unfortunately it is VERY easy to do.
Amanda Reckenwithe January 30, 2013 at 12:17 AM
She stole the dingo, that ate my BABY!


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