Woman Chases Down and Nabs Identity Thief

Victim of identity theft chased suspect for 45 minutes through San Francisco.

ByABC News via GMA logo
February 9, 2009, 8:49 AM

Dec. 7, 2007 — -- Karen Lodrick was waiting for her morning coffee at a San Francisco Starbucks when she realized the woman next to her looked eerily familiar.

The woman was wearing a distinctive fur-trimmed coat that Lodrick recognized from bank surveillance photos of the woman who had been posing as Lodrick and stealing her identity.

Maria Nelson, the woman in the fur coat, had been wreaking havoc in Lodrick's life for months.

"My gut was saying, 'this is something. She is something. Don't let her go. Call the police,'" Lodrick said.

When Lodrick confronted Nelson, she ran out of the store.

Lodrick wasn't about to let her get away. The fearless 5-foot-2 Web consultant chased Nelson on foot for 45 minutes through the streets of San Francisco, while calling 911.

"This woman has been taking my identity for the last five months. It's been a living hell. I need someone to come to Laguna and Market. She's running!" Lodrick said on the 911 call.

Nelson tried to escape in a cab, but Lodrick persisted, even staying on the line with 911 while pleading with a taxi driver.

"I know who you are! Don't let her go. She's an identity thief!" Lodrick said.

Lodrick's nightmare began five months earlier when she received a telephone call from her bank about thousands of dollars in suspicious charges.

"It was just charge after charge after charge," she said. "You know, $50 here, $300 there, $1,000 here. And it was just random, and it was pretty terrifying and to see a negative balance in my account, I was just like 'oh my gosh'!"

For the next few weeks Lodrick put her life on hold as she desperately tried to unravel the thief's fraudulent activity.

"I really wanted to figure this out because she was getting into everything. She was getting into writing blank checks. I received phone calls for a Dell computer, and a $7,000 loan," Lodrick said.

Police say Nelson accessed Lodrick's mail and used her personal information to get into her accounts and pose as Lodrick to creditors.