Tampa Police Officers Working to Identify Suspect in Scam Targeting Elderly
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INCIDENT DATE/TIME: 2/22/2013 at 2:01 PM
LOCATION: 4912 42nd St N # 105
VICTIM: 91-Year-Old B/F
SUSPECT: Black Male, 5'5" to 5'7", 140lbs to 150lbs, medium build, thin mustache, wore a gray suit. 40 to 50 yoa.
VEHICLE: Large 4 door older model vehicle. White on top, brown on bottom.
Tampa Police officers are asking residents to be on the lookout for a scam artist who is posing as a cop to extort money from elderly women. The suspect's most recent scam involved a 91-year-old woman who was walking southbound on North 40th St towards the B&D grocery store. She stopped to take a break near Gary Adult School located in the 5100 block of North 40th Street. The suspect was driving southbound in an older model vehicle. He waived to the victim and she waived back. The suspect did a u-turn and approached the victim. He produced a gold badge and identified himself as a police officer. He also showed her a picture and wanted to know if the females in the picture were her grand-daughters. The suspect called the victim by her name and recited her address to her. He told the victim he would wait to speak to her after she went to the store. The victim continued to the B&D and then walked back home where the suspect was waiting for her. She allowed him to come into her apartment and once inside, the victim told the suspect the girls in the picture were not her grand-daughters. The suspect then stated he was investigating the females for fraud and that her (victim's) grand daughters told him she had money in the house and that she was supposed to give it to him. The victim gave the suspect $1300.00 then he quickly fled the scene.
Tampa Police officers believe the same suspect attempted to scam another elderly woman using the same MO three days earlier. In this case, suspect fled the scene without any money when he realized the 81-year-old victim was calling a family member to confirm his story.
Officers are reminding citizens that if they are approached by a person that is identifying themselves as a police officer to ask for identification if they do not feel comfortable. Citizens can also contact the non-emergency number at 813-231-6130 to verify that the individual is an officer or to ask for a supervisor.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Tampa Police Department at 813-231-6130.