SURFSIDE, FLA. (WSVN) - The son of a couple who lost their lives in the partial building collapse in Surfside said thieves have stolen the victims’ identities and money.
Speaking to 7News on Friday, Sergio Lozano said he lives across from Champlain Towers South. The view from his apartment looks out over to the side of the condominium where his parents, Gladys and Antonio Lozano, lived.
“I have an apartment on Champlain East where I could see my mom cooking and my dad watching TV from my apartment, from my terrace,” he said. “That Wednesday, the 23rd, was his last day at work, which he was here. We had a final dinner together, and they left the apartment at 9:45, and at 1:20 in the morning, it was the collapse.”
A picture captured what was left of the South Tower after a wing crumbled to the ground. His parents’ unit was gone.
Lozano said he immediately went to the collapse site.
“I grabbed a pair of sneakers and ran down, and I got there with fire rescue and Surfside Police,” he said.
Lozano said his parents were in bed when their unit came down.
“Mom and Dad are dead. The building’s gone,” he said.
Lozano said his parents were together 68 years and married nearly 59.
The couple were also the godmother and uncle to 7News Chief Meteorologist Phil Ferro.
But now, even in death, Lozano said, they are the victims of identity theft and fraud.
“I find it totally devastating, after losing my parents, that I have to deal with all the estate issues, and now I’m having to deal with somebody stealing from my parents,” he said.
After the collapse, the Lozano family said, someone compromised the couple’s account online.
“The day of their funeral, they began to process [the account], and after they’re dead and buried, they’re stealing from them?” he said.
Lozano said the crooks withdrew money via Zelle.
“It’s just wrong, just wrong,” said Lozano.
Lozano said the thieves filled out a change of address form and created online banking for his parents’ account on the day of their funeral.
“On July 7, they started doing withdrawals from that account,” he said.
Miami-Dade Police are investigating, as other officials follow the case closely.
“We’re seriously investigating at least one encounter with one of our victims who has been again revictimized,” said Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett.
“How many people have perished in that building, and how many people have had their money stolen while they’re dead in the rubble, which is not right?” said Lozano. “You should get arrested, and you should go to jail.”
Police said their investigation is in the early stages. They said the thieves changed the Lozanos’ address to a location in Miami.
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