Woman used tamales to peddle scam

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

GRAPELAND, TX (KTRE) - The woman police are calling the "Tamale Bandit" was arrested Monday for allegedly going door to door across several Texas counties peddling a tamale-selling scam. Her victims say the extent of her criminal scam has left them in a big mess.

Police say Sherry Weisinger, the owner of a hair salon, is just one of the Tamale Bandit's victims.

"In small towns we are so trusting and we're used to people coming by and selling and we can't buy from everybody, but we try to buy and I just felt like she took advantage of that," said Weisenger.

According to police, the woman shown in surveillance video using stolen debit cards is Alicia Sanchez Garza, dubbed the Tamale Bandit.

"She's hitting between four and five debit cards a day," said Officer Robert Moffett, Grapeland Police Department. "She can run anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night."

Officer Moffett said Garza used three different methods to dupe people out of money. "She'll take a one dollar bill or a 20 dollar bill and sit there and play with it and everybody's turning around, watching and then she'll drop it on the floor and then she'll tap dance around it," explained Officer Moffett.

With the distraction, a second person would swipe the wallets.

"The tamales were not good," said Weisenger. "They were a fraud also."

"I've been told that some of them supposedly were made with cat food," said Officer Moffett.

Police say the Tamale bandit scammed countless people across 11 counties. People looking for a cheap meal weren't her only victims, one woman said Garza's scheme wiped out her legit tamale business.

"This is the only source of means my parents have, for making money, providing for my family so she ruined a lot," said Brittney Rodriguez, victim. "I wouldn't want to see her again."

Garza's victims say the Tamale Bandit has left them picking-up the pieces of their life. "She has no compassion," said Weisenger. "None."

Garza is charged with theft and forgery of a financial instrument. Grapeland Police believe several other cases could be linked to Garza.

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