SANTA CRUZ -- An Oakland woman suspected of posing as a doctor and stealing credit cards from staff at hospitals throughout Northern California was nabbed by Fairfield police.
Yolanda Smith, 49, was arrested Monday by Fairfield police officers after she was spotted by a hospital security guard.
Smith is suspected of burglarizing hospitals throughout the region by dressing in a white lab coat and pretending to be a doctor to gain entry into secured areas. Investigators believe she has perpetrated the scam in Daly City, Tracy, Modesto, Gilroy, Walnut Creek, Fairfield and Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz County sheriff's deputies say Smith walked into the neonatal care unit of Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz on Jan. 2 and within about four minutes, stole credit cards from the purses of four nurses. The nurses noticed the missing cards about two hours later, but by that time, the cards had been used to make more than $4,000 in purchases in Capitola and Live Oak. The cards were used at stores including Target in Capitola and Best Buy on 41st Avenue in Santa Cruz, Deputy April Skalland said.
Smith was seen leaving the stores in a brown, late 1990s Nissan Maxima sedan driven by a woman, believed to be about 20 years old, with short black hair. Deputies did not have further information on the younger woman Monday.
Santa Cruz County sheriff's investigators have interviewed Smith, who is being held in Fairfield, Skalland said. She did not know when or if Smith will be extradited to Santa Cruz County as there are a number of jurisdictions investigating her.
Smith faces charges of identity theft, burglary and fraudulent use of a credit card for the Dominican Hospital incident, Skalland said.
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office asks anyone with information to call the investigations division at 831-454-2311 or the anonymous tip line at 831-454-5995.
Follow Sentinel reporter Jessica M. Pasko at Twitter.com/jmpasko96.