2005-11-17 / Front Page


By Charles Rogers

In a continuing replay of a con game that has been practiced successfully for decades — perhaps more — two thieves got away recently with $9,000 from one gullible senior citizen, police said. The con men, described as black and in their late 40s or early 50s, have apparently struck on “a few occasions” in the local area this year, ripping off what police said was “a considerable amount of money.” The suspects have been known to drive a green, four-door, late model Ford.

“It’s a classic,” said Captain Ralph Monteforte, commanding officer of the 69th Precinct. “Especially when the victims fall for it so easily. That’s why we’re publicizing it again and again so gullible — and greedy — people will be more wary in the future.”

Captain Monteforte said the con men will walk up to an unsuspecting person, usually a senior citizen, and say they just found a large bag of money (“just lying in the street!”) and they don’t know what to do with it, but they’d be willing to split it. The senior goes along with the story in the hope of receiving a little free cash, especially when the con man shows them what appears to be a bag stuffed with cash.

“But first we want to see some ‘up front’ money to show your good faith,” the con man tells the victim, who then goes to the bank and withdraws a certain amount of cash from his or her own account — in the recent case, $9,000.

“The con men will then hand the victim an envelope — supposedly his cut of the found money,” Monteforte said, “but by the time the transaction has taken place and the money is handed over, the con men have jumped into their car and absconded, leaving the victim standing on the corner holding an envelope full of shredded newspaper.”

He said the pair of thieves recently hit another senior for $3,000.

“There are other occasions too,” the precinct commander said, “but one of the problems is that some people are too embarrassed to report that they’ve been ‘taken.’ That’s no good. How will we capture the people who did it if the crime is not reported?”

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