Police Seek Identity of Suspect in Scam

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Financial Crimes Unit are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect in a scam that occurred on April 17, 2009. Detectives are now releasing photographs of the suspect.

On April 17, at approximately 3:00 p.m., the 28-year-old male victim contacted police when he realized that his ATM card had been stolen and used. The preliminary investigation revealed that he was approached by the suspect inside Westfield Shopping Center in Wheaton. The suspect and the victim engaged in conversation. The suspect claimed that the paper bag he was holding contained all of his money. The victim told the suspect it was unsafe to carry around cash in this area and told him he should deposit the money in a bank. They walked to a nearby bank where the suspect decided not to make a deposit. Instead, they walked to an ATM machine where the suspect asked the victim to demonstrate how it worked. He did so, believing he concealed his PIN number. They then walked to the metro station and the suspect asked the victim to hold his money for him until a later date and he would give him money in return. In addition, the suspect told the victim to place his ATM card inside the bag so that he would not lose it. The victim agreed and got onto a bus. He observed the suspect running away from the metro station. The victim looked inside the bag to find cut up newspaper and his ATM card missing. When he attempted to cancel his card, the victim learned there had been charges made at nearby stores.

The suspect is described as a black male with a dark complexion, approximately 40 to 50 years-of-age, 5’10” to 6’00” tall, with short black hair, and brown eyes. He was wearing a black button-down shirt with a dark jacket.

Detectives are investigating two additional incidents they believe are related. On April 17, at approximately 3:00 p.m. a 52-year-old female fell victim to similar circumstances. A similar incident occurred on April 18, also at approximately 3:00 p.m. involving a 19-year-old male victim.

Community members should be wary of anyone who attempts to gain their trust with a promise of money in return for a good faith gesture, which usually involves the victim giving them money.

Anyone who has information about similar incidents or this suspect is asked to call the Financial Crimes Unit at 240-773-6330 or the police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000.

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Contact: Media Services Division   Phone: 240.773.5030

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