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Area residents are warned to be careful when using credit cards at ATM machines after a Romanian woman and her nephew were arrested and charged in a scam where they allegedly placed skimmers on at least 10 bank ATMs. At a press conference Monday, Putnam County Sheriff Gator DeLoach talked about the scheme saying equipment was the “most technologically advanced” he’s seen. In Putnam 291 cards were compromised and more than $48,000 stolen. At least $100,000 has been taken in all, with skimmers found in Jacksonville, Putnam, Clay, Alachua and Taylor counties as well as in Georgia. Elena Matei, 35, and her nephew Plopsor Matei, 18, were arrested last week by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. The two are in jail on charges including fraud with bond at $340000 and $400,000. The nephew has been in the U.S. about five months. Authorities are warning people to pay attention when using ATMs.
In St. Johns County the Sheriff’s Office is warning people about a rental property scam. People who think they’ve rented property listed online are arriving to find the properties already rented through rental companies or still occupied by owners. The problem increases during the summer time as people look for vacation bargains. Detectives say warning signs you may be dealing with a scammer include a person who says they live out of the county or country and ask for funds to be wired, paid through a card or using apps to transfer money. Scammers many times will request the first month’s rent or security deposit before sending the lease contract.
Palatka City Commission holds another special meeting on hiring a city manager tonight at 5 p.m. at City Hall. A discussion on the search/recruitment with the search firm Mercer Group recently hired by the city is planned. Also on the agenda — considering applicants for interim Palatka city manager. City Clerk Betsy Driggers has been handling her regular job and that of city manager since the commission fired their last city manager a year ago.
Flagler County is looking at a project to renourish 2.6 miles of Flagler Beach. An agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would bring in 320,000 cubic yards of ocean sand to build and maintain higher and wider dunes between South Sixth and South 28th streets over the next 50 years. Cost is $100 million with Flagler County responsibly for half. Sand would be from off-shore and darker than the distinctive coquina sand common to Flagler.
Florida Highway Patrol worked wrecks in Flagler and St. Johns County Saturday. A single-vehicle accident on I-95 near mile marker 317 in St. Johns led to the death of driver Tiffany Nelson, 34, of Jacksonville. She reportedly was northbound in the inside lane around 10:30 p.m. when she changed her path of travel then began rotating clockwise to the shoulder where her vehicle collided with a tree and overturned. The accident is under investigation. At 7 p.m. a crash on State Road 100 in Flagler County left one man dead and a woman injured. George Joseph Serafino, 76, was reportedly driving when a medical issue caused him to lose control of a 2017 Nissan Rogue and crash into a concrete light pole. George Serafino later died, his passenger, Marie Serafino, sustained minor injuries.
Tonight seven Putnam County residents will be recognized as role models for the county will be named at a nighttime meeting of the Putnam County School Board. The 6 p.m. meeting at district headquarters, 200 Reid Street in Palatka, comes after a search that’s part of Product of Palatka, an effort to recognize homegrown talent and success.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.