By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Police are asking for the public’s assistance in finding men who scammed a Peter Cooper Village senior out of more than $9,000 last month.
The 77-year-old victim told police that the unidentified men called her between 2:45 p.m. on Thursday, January 16 and 12:30 p.m. on Friday, January 17, telling her that her grandson had been involved in a car accident and he required money for bail. After speaking to the victim by phone, one of the suspects met the victim at her apartment near 2 Peter Cooper Road and got $9,200 in cash from her.
The next day, the suspects called the victim back and said that in order to expunge her grandson’s arrest record, she would have to pay an additional $7,000. The victim had become suspicious, so when the suspects arrived to collect the second payment, she handed them miscellaneous papers in an envelope and not the additional requested sum.
Police said that on both occasions, the suspects fled towards Second Avenue when they left the victim’s apartment building. The victim was not injured as a result of the incident.
Town & Village has reported on similar incidents in the past that have been highlighted in previous 13th Precinct Community Council meetings and Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman said this week that such scams are still extremely common.
“It’s definitely a concern for us, especially for the elderly,” he said. “It’s definitely still happening often. A majority of our grand larceny from a person overall are scams.”
Hellman clarified that “grand larceny from a person” includes crimes like phone-snatchings but also includes scams such as this one and often the latter makes up the majority of the crimes committed in that category for the precinct. Hellman said that he would be providing an update about scams at the next community council meeting on Tuesday, February 18.
Anyone with information in regard to the identity of the individuals is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or on Twitter @NYPDTips.
All calls are strictly confidential.