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Surfside Deals With ID Theft; Hearing Held To Help Families Of Condo Collapse

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Of all things, Surfside is dealing with identity theft, as lawyers are beginning to hash out what becomes of that property.

In just-released pictures from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, you see engineers on the scene of the Surfside condo collapse marking and recording data from concrete pieces in the rubble.

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Photos from NIST Champlain Towers South Investigation (NIST)

They are using remote sensing technology to capture the building structure while they piece together what happened.

NIST Champlain Towers Investigation pics
Photos from NIST Champlain Towers South Investigation (NIST)

Mayor Charles Burkett said the families who lost loved ones in the collapse are now having to deal with identity theft.

"Cards were being opened and purchased in their name. We are now hunting down the bad guy," said Burkett.

While the police track the identity theft criminals, a judge in Miami on Friday addressed a roomful of lawyers who are working with the families of the Surfside victims for compensation.

Another hearing was held discussing, in large part, what should happen next to the property moving forward.

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Photos from NIST Champlain Towers South Investigation (NIST)

At the opening of the hearing, Oren Cytrynbaum, who lived in the condo and lost two units, asked for the judge moment of silence for the victims. After the hearing, he reflected on what's happening now.

"Each day gets a bit easier. You are not sure what's gonna happen but everyone is helping each other," he said. "We've been getting close with our neighbors and the community and everyone's been helping each other. It just seems like you're going from a very dark place to a bright light of hope down the end of the road.

"I cannot imagine the pain you are feeling, the pain that I pray will subside over time," said Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman.

As for what should happen to the oceanfront property, there are a lot of different views. Some people feel it should be a memorial site, others feel the property should be sold. Some people feel like they want to go back and live there in a new building.

Hanzman said everything is on the table, but he will make a decision at a later time.

Another point of discussion Friday was how the survivors and those who lost loved ones should be compensated.

"The most painful experience you can have as a lawyer is meeting a family right after a tragedy of this nature. A young family with three children, they all perished and it's heart-wrenching and they're beautiful people," said attorney Luis Suarez who is representing the Pettengil family. "At the same time, they're trying to organize their legal rights to make sure that they are protected and that justice is ultimately served in this case."

Many people and companies have stepped up to help the families for free and there have been fundraisers.

Hanzman has already signed off on the planned sale of the oceanfront property where the buildings once stood. The proceeds will go to the families. He also wants the court-appointed receiver for the condo association to begin disbursing millions of dollars in insurance payments. There is $48 million in total insurance coverage. Thirty million for property damage and $18 million for personal injury.

Another point of discussion concerned a memorial. Some people want a memorial at the site. The mayor of Miami Beach sent a letter to the judge offering land in Miami Beach to build a memorial. Hanzman said the decision on where a memorial should be is months away.

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