Con-artists rip off Selmian

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 15, 2004

A con-artist duo duped a Selma woman this week, taking more than $3,000 in the scam.

A woman, whose name was withheld by police, reported to the SPD on Monday that a unknown man and woman approached her outside a local shopping center and asked if a purse they found belonged to her.

After the victim said no, the three looked inside and found several wads of cash.

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“At this point, the victim said the male told her that he worked at a bank and wanted to have the money checked out,” said Selma Police Chief Robert Green.

The three got into the victim’s vehicle and drove to The People’s Bank, where the male suspect went inside and returned a few minutes later claiming the purse contained $100,000.

The woman and two suspects decided to divide the money between them, but the man said he was concerned the money might be stolen.

The two suspects announced a plan to switch the supposed $100,000 with some of the victim’s money.

They said they would then have the bank check the serial numbers of the victim’s money, which, according to the plan, would be used to pose as the money found in the purse.

The victim and suspects then drove to the victim’s bank, where she withdrew over $3,000 in cash.

“She gave the man the money, and they drove back to the bank where he claimed to work,” Green said. “The victim was told by the male to go into the bank and speak with his boss. When she went inside, she was told the person she’d ask to speak with did not exist.”

When the woman returned to her car, the male and female were gone, and so was the $3,000.

The supposed $100,000 in the purse turned out to be nothing more than a couple $100 bills rolled around shredded newspaper.

This scam, according to police, is known as a “pigeon drop” and usually reported in Selma a couple of time a year.

“Detectives are investigating this crime and urge all citizens to exercise extreme caution when approached,” Green said.

The chief warned Selmians to be on guard against people asking for personal information.

“Do not give out personal information and do no give strangers access to your money or account,” Green said. “Scam artists use the promise of more money to cheat people out of their money.”

The two suspects are now wanted by police for theft by deception.

If someone is approached by this couple or has more information, they should contact the police at 874-2125.