Sacto 9-1-1
January 22, 2009
Sacramento man loses $7,300 in 'pigeon drop' scam

From Sandy Louey:

Sacramento police are searching for two men who allegedly scammed a man out of $7,300 in a so-called "pigeon drop" scheme.

Police said the crime unfolded like this:

At 1:30 p.m. Jan. 15, a man went to the Washington Mutual Bank at 1331 Florin Road. While there, a man approached him and introduced himself as "Andrew."

Andrew told the victim he had $200,000 that he wanted to donate to a charity. Andrew asked for directions to a nearby church, but appeared confused when the man provided them.

The man offered to drive Andrew there. When they arrived at a church on Amherst Way near Meadowview Road, Andrew left items in the car and got out to use the restroom inside the church.

Andrew came out with a man who identified himself as "Paul." Both Paul and Andrew asked the victim to help them donate the $200,000. They asked the man to show that he had money before trusting him with the $200,000.

Police said the man took Paul and Andrew back to the bank and withdrew $7,300 out of his account. The two men had the victim put the money into a bag they said contained $200,000.

They gave the man the bag and asked him to put the money in a safety deposit box. The man discovered the bag was full of paper and his money was gone when he went into the bank to put the money in the box.

"If it's too good to be true then it probably is," said Detective Claressa Wilson of the police's financial crimes unit.

Andrew was described as an African American adult, 5 feet 5 inches tall with dark skin. He wore a black jacket and a gold ring with a jade stone on one of his fingers.

Paul was described as an African American adult, 6 feet tall with dark skin. He wore a dark suit and carried a black briefcase, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

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