EMERYVILLE (KPIX) — Emeryville police arrested a woman Thursday on suspicion of identity theft and fraud alleging she assumes the identity of legitimate nannies in order to rob or defraud unsuspecting parents.

Police identified the suspect in custody as Darlene Mariana Monticalvo.

Surveillance footage taken by one of the families was key in solving the case of the imposter nanny. In the video, a woman in a light blue shirt arrives for her interview and a San Francisco mother realizes something wasn’t quite right.

Officer John Corcoran with the Emeryville police department said, “The families got a weird feeling about the nanny they were about to hire.”

One San Francisco mother went online, found the name of the nanny they thought they were interviewing and talked with her.

Investigators then put the pieces of the puzzle together. A DMV picture of 60-year-old Darlene Mariana Monticalvo matched the woman seen in the surveillance video.

According to a warrant for Monticalvo’s arrest, she has 22 prior felony convictions dating back to 1986. Five cases of identity theft and fraud since 2003 involved posing as a nanny.

In a criminal complaint filed by the Alameda County District Attorneys office, Monticalvo is charged with cruelty to a 2-month-old child by inflicting injury.

In the past, Monticalvo has targeted families in five counties including Alameda, San Francisco, Contra Costa, Marin and San Mateo.

For parents, a case like this is one of their biggest fears.

“Putting your child in hands of someone that might abuse kids is really scary,” Claudia Becerria told KPIX. Investigators say there may be other cases out there and they urge parents to come forward.

Anyone with information should call Emeryville police at (510) 596-3700.

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