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May 24, 2012

Police Look for 'Pros' in $62K Scam of Daytona Beach Woman

 Police look for 'pros' in $62K scam of Daytona Beach woman
By CHRIS GRAHAM, Staff writer
May 24, 2012

DAYTONA BEACH -- A pair of scammers talked an 87-year-old woman into giving them $62,000 before running off, and it's likely they've done it before, the police chief said.
"These people were absolute pros," Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood said Wednesday.
Detectives continue to search for the suspects who pulled off the scam Tuesday afternoon from the parking lots of Publix and Sam's Club on Beville Road, according to an incident report.
Police say the victim, whose identity was withheld by authorities, had parked in a handicapped spot in the Publix parking lot on her way to get a prescription filled when she was approached by a heavy-set black female.
The suspect talked the victim into driving her to the Sam's Club parking lot, where a man was waiting. The male suspect approached the victim's vehicle and said he needed money to fly to Sudan, Africa, because his royal father had died and left $300,000 to be donated to charity. He also said he would give them $25,000 for helping him out, the report shows.
The female suspect convinced the victim to withdraw $12,000 from Wells Fargo Bank on Beville Road. The victim was told by the female suspect to tell bank officials she needed the money to travel to see her sister. Bank officials told police that they are not allowed to question people about their money once the account owner is "verified," though the service manager told officers "she just did not feel right about the situation," according to the report.
When the victim and female suspect returned to the Sam's Club parking lot, the male suspect said it was not enough. The victim then went to her Daytona Beach home and took $50,000 from a safe, police said.
She drove back to the parking lot and gave the man the money, which he prayed over, and then ran away with the female suspect.
The female suspect is described in the incident report as being 5 foot 3 to 5 foot 6, 240 to 250 pounds, and wearing a long hair wig. The male suspect was described as black, with a thin build, short brown hair and clean shaven. They were seen leaving the area in a white Nissan Altima.
Chitwood said the woman has gone to many of his community police meetings, but she forgot everything she had learned until it was too late.
"She was kind of caught off guard," Chitwood said.
A growing number of criminals are preying on the elderly, the chief said.
According to the National Center of Elder Abuse, there may be at least 5 million financial abuse victims each year. It's estimated for each case of elder abuse, about five cases going unreported.
"It's a growing group and the scumbags and dregs of society are taking advantage of them," he said, "and these folks don't have the ability to fight back."
A $2,500 reward is being offered for the arrest and conviction of the suspects. Anyone with information on the suspects is urged to contact police at 386-671-5100
 SOURCE:       NewsJournalOnline
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