EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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November 10, 2012

Wrong photo, wrecked life

Woman talks about life after bank, police release wrong surveillance photo

HAVERHILL — She’s a single mom who works hard to support two loving sons, is studying to earn her GED and is determined to become a paralegal. For 23-year-old Ginesis Gil, things were looking up. Then it all seemed to come crashing down in lightning shutter speed.

Three weeks ago, police released a bank surveillance photo of a woman with a “Believe” tattoo on her chest who appears to be making a withdrawal from an ATM using a stolen debit card. It was Gil in the photo, but as it turns out, she wasn’t the one police were looking for.

A bank error resulted in police getting the wrong photo from the wrong ATM, which was then released to the media. Last week, police cleared Gil of any wrongdoing after she proved the withdrawal she had made at an ATM was from her own account. Police are now looking for a male suspect in the case.

Gil said the mistake threw her life into immediate turmoil.

“It was horrible,” said Gil. “I couldn’t take my children Trick-or-Treating and when I went to Market Basket to pick up a few things, people were staring at me. And when I brought my children to the bus stop, other moms were talking about me.”

Everywhere she went people pointed and stared, she said. She heard people saying things like “Isn’t that the woman who police are looking for?” Gil says many recognized her from the photo because of the tattoo of the word “Believe” that she has on the right upper chest area. She said the tattoo honors several members of her family who are cancer survivors. The tattoo could clearly be seen in the photo that police released.

She tried to hide what was happening from her two young sons, but they eventually found out.

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