THOMASVILLE — A crime scene was established at a Thomasville woman's East Pinetree Boulevard apartment Thursday afternoon. Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Thomasville Police Department alerts were issued about the missing woman.
Janis White, an employee at Susie Q's at Smith Avenue and East Pinetree, left the store early Thursday morning to make bank deposits. She did not return to the store and did not respond to attempts by her family and employer to contact her.
"We found out the bank deposits were not deposited," said Lt. Toby Knifer, Thomasville Police Department Criminal Investigations Division commander.
Knifer said it was not characteristic of White not to respond to her family or business management.
"Our immediate concern was her welfare," he said.
Shortly before 8 p.m. Thursday, 62-year-old White was found at a Panama City, Florida, motel and taken into custody.
Thomasville detectives have learned that for several months, White has been contacted by unknown persons and scammed on the Internet.
"She has been sending money to an unknown person at an unknown location," Knifer said. "It is a scam that turned into a theft."
The bank deposit — of an undisclosed amount — was not with White at the motel. Knifer said it is believed White sent the money to the scammers for fear she and/or her family would be harmed.
White, charged with felony theft by taking, is being held in the Bay County Jail in Panama City, awaiting extradition to Georgia.
"A victim of a scam was driven to theft," Knifer said.
Anyone threatened with harm if they do not turn over money should notify law enforcement immediately, the commander said.
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820