SHERMAN OAKS (CBSLA.com) — Authorities are asking for the public’s help to find an identity theft suspect who stole from a woman who was dying.
The unidentified thief stole the dying woman’s identity and tried to clean out her bank accounts.
The suspect was caught on surveillance video and police are hoping the public can identify the real culprit.
KCAL9’s Peter Daut on Thursday spoke to the victim’s sister. She is outraged and she wants justice.
“You can’t make this stuff up,” celebrity makeup artist Sarah Sullivan told Daut.
Sullivan works with some of Hollywood’s most beautiful people. Three thousand miles away, she was dealing with something quite ugly.
Sullivan’s sister’s identity was stolen — while she was on her death bed.
“I think it’s disgusting,” Sullivan said, “I don’t even know what to say.”
Sullivan went to New York this past September to stand vigil at her sister Kate’s bedside. Kate was in the final stages of terminal cancer.
Just one day before 50-year-old Kate took her final breath, Sullivan says she was in the hospital when her cell phone rang.
The call was from a bank manager.
“She wanted to know if my sister had just been in the bank and was she trying to withdraw a large sum of money,” Sullivan says.
Alarmed and confused, Sullivan says she had to leave the hospital to take care of the matter. This is where her anguish turned to anger.
The woman was able to withdraw more than $9,000 of Kate’s money at a bank in Long Island.
The woman had Kate’s Social Security number, along with a signed copy of her driver’s license.
“This woman marched into a bank, said she was Kate, and tried to clear out her bank account. That is scary for anybody,” says Sullivan.
Investigators say the woman not only stole cash but $4,000 in merchandise purchased with several store credit cards obtained in Kate’s name.
“It looks like she’s trying to look more like Kate, which makes me think maybe she knew her or she saw a picture on her license,” Sullivan says.
Sullivan says her older sister was her best friend, a fashion executive who traveled the world and often took her along.
She says the thief stole more than her sister’s identity — she stole something priceless — their precious final moments together.
“I have to tie my sister’s memory to this lowlife woman who doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as my sister,” Sullivan says.
Sullivan has posted the suspect’s photos on social media. Police in New York say they have promising leads coming in and hope to make an arrest soon.