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An Oakland woman has been arrested in connection with thefts of credit cards from employees at seven Bay Area hospitals while wearing a doctor’s white lab coat, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office said. Yolanda Smith, 49, was captured by police in Fairfield in Solano County last Tuesday after a hospital security guard recognized her as a suspect in thefts from medical workers in Fairfield, Santa Cruz sheriff’s Deputy April Skalland said.
Police in Fairfield stopped Smith at the end of a vehicle chase after she attempted to drive away when the security guard recognized her, Skalland said. Santa Cruz County deputies plan to arrest Smith on suspicion of identity theft, burglary and fraudulent use of an access card in the pilfering of credit cards at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz on Jan. 2, Skalland said. Investigators allege that Smith, dressed in a white lab coat to impersonate a doctor, entered Dominican, got into a secured employee lunch area and lifted many credit cards from purses and wallets there, Skalland said.
The suspect then allegedly left Dominican and used the cards to charge $4,500 worth of merchandise at a Target store, a Best Buy outlet and a gas station, Skalland said. Smith also is suspected of donning a doctor’s white robe while stealing credit cards at hospitals in Daly City, Tracy, Modesto, Gilroy, Walnut Creek, Skalland said. “She has the same M.O.,” Skalland said. “Dresses in a lab coat, goes to a secure area, steals credit cards and leaves.” The suspect only takes credit cards, leaving the purses and wallets behind, Skalland said. The sheriff’s office has already interviewed Smith about the incident at Dominican, Skalland said. “There is a long list of counties, a long list of detectives who want to speak to her,” Skalland said.
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