Russell Bannister Attempts To Steal From Assisted Living Facility, Gets Caught By “Alexa” | January 8
Ormond Beach: When a would-be thief entered an elderly resident’s room at an Ormond Beach assisted living facility, he may have thought no one was listening. But Alexa was. Russell Bannister, 47, entered a resident’s room at Brookdale Assisted Living Facility on 550 Wilmette Ave. on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, “without consent or knowledge” and stole cash and credit cards.
Bannister’s presence in the victim’s room was detected by an Amazon Alexa device which alerted a family member. The family member responded and confronted Bannister, who was still in the room, Walker said, and Bannister fled on foot. Police arrested him soon afterward.
When questioned, Bannister told officers his name was James Gowgiallo and said he was visiting Brookdale to see his aunt, Nancy Anderson, who wasn’t there, according to police body-worn camera video of the arrest. She must have been at the Port Orange facility instead.
While he was there, Bannister said, he talked to a resident who told him how many years he’d been there and produced his wallet and ID to prove it. At that point, Bannister said, another man came and threatened to detain him and, when Bannister tried to get away, attacked him in the parking lot.
Bannister was already notorious in the area for scamming a number of elderly Volusia County residents, billing himself as the “hurricane handyman,” taking their money and never doing any of the work, according to police records.
Russell Bannister faces two charges of petty theft, two charges of burglary of an occupied dwelling, burglary with assault or battery, battery, grand theft, two counts of fleeing or attempting to elude, possession of paraphernalia, possession of a schedule II substance, and four counts of organized scheme to defraud. He is being held at the Volusia County Branch Jail without bail.
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