Purse-thief chooses wrong bank for withdrawal

She tried to pass herself off as woman who worked at institution, complaint says
Ozaukee Press staff

A 51-year-old woman accused of smashing a car window and stealing a purse in Belgium last week made a big mistake when she stopped at a Grafton bank and attempted to withdraw money from the purse-owner’s account.

Employees at Port Washington State Bank’s Grafton branch didn’t recognize Fort Lauderdale, Fla., resident Dawn H. Trotta when she pulled up to the drive-through, but they knew the name of the woman on the driver’s license and bank card Trotta gave them. It was that of their former co-worker, who recently retired, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in Ozaukee County Circuit Court.

Trotta, who was arrested shortly after bank employees called police, is charged with identity theft, a felony, and a misdemeanor count of obstructing an officer.

The search for Trotta began after a man told an Ozaukee County sheriff’s deputy that he and his wife were at the Luxembourg American Cultural Center for an event on Thursday, June 23, when someone smashed the front passenger window of their vehicle and stole his wife’s purse.

In the purse were the woman’s two credit cards, a bank card, driver’s license and $41.

While the deputy was investigating, the woman checked her accounts online and noticed one of her credit cards was used to make a $959 purchase at the Dollar General store in Port Washington at 7:33 p.m.

Surveillance video from the store showed  a woman with long dark hair like Trotta has, who was wearing a face mask and hat, make the purchase, the complaint states.

Two days later, on Saturday, June 25, employees of Port Washington State Bank called the sheriff’s office to report a woman later identified as Trotta used their former co-worker’s license and bank card to try and withdraw money.

The employees said they immediately knew the woman wasn’t who she said she was and called their former co-worker, who told them her purse had been stolen.

The employees tried to stall Trotta, but she eventually drove away with the bank’s vacuum tube canister, according to the complaint.

A police officer stopped Trotta a short tine later in the Grafton High School parking lot. Trotta first told the officer her name was Dawn, but then said it was Natalie. Then she gave the officer a name that was similar to that of the woman who owned the purse, but said her last name was Nelson, which is not the purse-owner’s name. Trotta did, however, get the woman’s address correct and gave two dates of birth, one of which is the victim’s birth date, the complaint states.

Trotta was arrested, and in the vehicle officers found clothing, wigs, an open bottle of vodka and the bank’s vacuum tube canister. The purse was not recovered.

The vehicle was a rental car from Minnesota and paper had been used to partially obscure the license plate.

Trotta is being held in the county jail in lieu of $5,000 bail. During a court hearing Tuesday, Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Sandy Williams ordered Trotta not to have contact with the bank, its employees or the owner of the purse and not to leave Wisconsin. 



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
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