‘Shoulder surfer’ accused of PIN theft

A 32-year-old woman suspected of “shoulder surfing” to retrieve PINs and access private information was arrested over the weekend in Walnut Creek, police said.

Pittsburg resident Ayanna Bastain was arrested Sunday at a Bank of America branch at 1200 Rossmoor Parkway where detectives set up a sting operation, police said.

Police had been investigating thefts in the city known as “shoulder surfing,” in which people directly observe other people’s private information such as a PIN, or personal identification number, by looking over someone’s shoulder.

In Walnut Creek the thefts happened at ATMs in November and December 2014, police said. Detectives obtained photos from surveillance systems that showed a person, later identified as Bastain, committing the thefts, according to police.

Detectives on Sunday saw Bastain allegedly exhibiting “multiple suspicious behaviors” at the Bank of America branch, police said. Bastain was arrested on suspicion of identity theft and elder abuse. She was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility where she is being held in lieu of $270,000 bail.

Anyone with information on the crimes or believe they may be a victim is asked to call Walnut Creek police Detective Godinez at (925) 943-5872.