Pair sought who bilked woman out of $40,000

Towson victim was offered deal outside grocery store

December 23, 2003|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County police are searching for two women who bilked a 66-year-old Towson woman out of more than $40,000 as part of a get-rich-quick scheme.

Investigators are also trying to determine whether the scheme is related to a series of similar incidents that occurred on the west side earlier this year.

The most recent victim was leaving a grocery store in the 8100 block of Loch Raven Blvd. on Dec. 12 when a woman approached, saying she found a purse in the parking lot, police said. She pretended to have trouble opening it and asked a third woman walking by to help her, according to police reports.

The woman with the purse told the victim that the purse contained $100,000 and a bank note worth millions and asked for $50,000 in order to divide the proceeds three ways, police said.

The victim drove home with one of the women, then went to the bank and withdrew $40,000 from her account. The three met again and the victim gave the money to the two women, saying she would get the other $10,000 later, police said.

After the meeting, police said, the victim realized that $480 was stolen from her purse during the time she was dealing with the two women, who never called her back.

Detectives are investigating whether this incident is related to similar schemes in the Wilkens and Woodlawn precincts this year.

In June, two women defrauded an elderly Catonsville woman of nearly $14,000 in cash and jewelry as part of a get-rich-quick scheme. She was told she could share winning sweepstakes tickets worth $12 million if she could provide money as collateral. The victim gave them $9,700 in cash and two diamond rings worth $4,000, police said, but received nothing in return.

At least two other similar incidents occurred in March at shopping areas along Baltimore National Pike.

Police are investigating whether the same women were involved, said Officer Shawn Vinson, a county police spokesman.

"It's a fairly common scheme," he said. "It's just like they say: `If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.' "

One woman in the case this month is described as 30 to 40 years old, about 5 feet 4 inches tall and 150 pounds. She told the victim her name was Christine.

The second woman is approximately 65 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall and about 160 pounds. She was last seen wearing black pants and a black coat.

Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to call police at 410-307-2020 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-756-2587.

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