Authorities in Ormond Beach Florida are crediting an Amazon Alexa device with helping them arrest a thief who broke into an assisted living facility and attempted to rob one of the residents.
The incident was reported at the Brookdale Assisted Living Facility on December 22nd.
Officials say 47-year-old Russell Bannister entered an elderly resident’s room while they were away, and stole cash and credit cards from the room. While Bannister was in the room, however, the resident’s Alexa device notified a relative that someone other than the resident had entered the room. The relative immediately went to the room to see what was going on and found Bannister going through their loved- ones things.
When Bannister noticed the other person, he fled the scene on foot but was apprehended by police a short while after the relative contacted the police.
During questioning, Bannister told the officer that his name was James Gowgiallo and that he was at the assisted living facility because he was trying to visit his aunt. Bannister told the officer that a staff member informed him that his aunt was not at the facility and as he was speaking with that staff member, he was forced to flee the scene because another person began threatening him and then attacked him.
Bannister told the officer that despite being attacked, he did not want to press charges against that person and that he just really wanted to go home.
After speaking more with Bannister, the officer determined that Bannister was lying about the incident.
He is now facing multiple charges including an organized scheme to defraud, burglary of an occupied dwelling, burglary with assault or battery, and fleeing the scene.
This is not Bannister’s first arrest for attempting to defraud an elderly person. Authorities say Bannister is known in the area for defrauding elderly people by offering to do handy work in exchange for cash but takes the payment without doing the work.