Upper Arlington News

Clues sought in theft of nearly $100,000

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Upper Arlington police continue to investigate a scam in which two thieves made off with nearly $100,000 in cash and jewelry from a local woman.

Police said a two-person scam in which the assailants said they were bank examiners this month resulted in the theft of $80,000 worth of jewelry and $17,700 in cash from an 84-year-old Brixton Road woman.

"No arrests have been made," Upper Arlington police officer Heather Galli said. "From our standpoint, my concern is there may be other victims or targets in the community.

"If anyone else was contacted -- even if they knew enough not to give these individuals anything -- we want to know about it."

According to police reports, the woman received a phone call Sept. 6 from an unidentified man who said he was a captain from the "Ohio Bank Examiners Office." He told the woman he had a suspect in custody who had attempted to forge checks in her name at a local bank.

The caller knew the woman's name and address, and told her the suspect he'd detained also provided a bank teller with counterfeit $20 and $100 bills. The caller asked the woman to read him the serial numbers on money she had at her home.

When she complied, police said, the man told her the money she had was counterfeit, and he was sending an agent to her home to check the bills.

The victim was then visited at her home by a second suspect, identified as a white woman in her 50s, who was approximately 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds.

The resident allowed the woman into her home, at which time the female suspect reportedly took $17,700 in cash under the guise that the money needed to be analyzed at a nearby mobile laboratory. The suspect also reportedly told the victim the scam involved stolen jewelry, and convinced the resident to give her six pieces of jewelry valued in total at $80,000 so it could be photographed.

At that point, the victim believed she was being scammed, but feared she might be physically harmed if she didn't hand over the money and jewelry. she told police. The victim also agreed to drive the female suspect to a Bob Evans restaurant on Riverside Drive, where the suspect said she would walk to a nearby mobile lab.

Galli said the Ohio Bank Examiners Office doesn't exist and the suspects haven't been seen since the theft.

Police aren't sure how the suspects identified the woman they targeted, but Galli said the incident reaffirms the need for people to be cautious if they are contacted about matters involving forgeries, bank or credit card account information or counterfeit money.

She also said they should notify police if they receive an unsolicited call from anyone identifying himself or herself as an examiner, investigator or law enforcement officer.

"Any time you receive a call, unsolicited, saying they're an examiner, investigator or they're from law enforcement, what I recommend is you slow things down," Galli said.

"Ask for the name of the business and a call-back number and contact your local law enforcement agency before you call these people back."

Anyone with information about this crime or similar scams or attempted scams is asked to call the Upper Arlington Police Department at 614-583-5150.

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