I-Team Scam Alert: Alleged Scam Artists Tell Convincing Story

By: Phil White Email
By: Phil White Email

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Friday, April 26, 2013

A Wichita man says the two men police believe scammed another man out of $4,500 Wednesday tried to rip him off, too.

The 80-year-old Wichita resident, who does not want to be identified, said he was just trying to help someone he believed was new to the U.S. Now, he is trying to help prevent anybody else from falling victim to a scam.

"It was a great act and they took a long time of pulling it off to get your trust," the man said.

That act began at the QuikTrip on the corner of 13th and West Tuesday morning. An 80-year-old veteran said he was approached by a man with a heavy African accent. The man claimed to be from South Africa and claimed to have thousands of dollars in cash.

Another man soon joined them and said they needed to get the cash to a bank. However, the victim said, the man claiming to be from South Africa was not too sure.

"He said, 'If you go to a bank, they will hit you with baseball bats and sic dogs on you,'" the 80-year-old recalled. "I spent a lot of time, along with the other gentleman, telling him that didn't happen."

He drove the pair to Intrust Bank's main branch in downtown Wichita.

"They both kept asking me, 'How much money do you have in the bank and, if you go to the bank, can you get the money out?'" the man said Friday.

However, he never gave any thought to actually withdrawing any money from the bank. The strangers lost interest when he lied and said he only had $200.

Police said Thursday another man fell victim Wednesday to what may have been the same scam.

In that case, a 57-year-old man was approached by two men outside the Corporate Hills Post Office near Kellogg and Webb. Those men fit the same description as the pair who showed up at the QuikTrip Tuesday.

The 57-year-old drove the pair to a Bank of America branch at Douglas and Rock and one of the men went in before returning with an envelope he said contained $10,000. Those men told Wednesday's victim the same story about not trusting U.S. banks.

Police say the 57-year-old man pulled $4,500 out of his bank at 21st and Webb to show the pair banks could be trusted.

"Our victim ultimately gave the suspects this cash because the suspect was also going to then give some of his cash toward a charity," said Wichita Police Lt. Doug Nolte.

The suspects then walked away from the victim, Nolte said.

The 80-year-old man who did not give over any money said he still almost bought the stranger's story about being new to the country and not trusting banks. He wants people to be on the lookout for scam artists trying to prey upon people who just want to be helpful.

"That accent really worked real well," he said. "Law and Order doesn't have a show this good."

Police and the man who spoke with KAKE News described both suspects as black men with foreign accents.

One suspect is about 60 years old, is six feet, one inch tall and weighs about 190 pounds. The other suspect is about 55 years old, is five feet, ten inches tall and weighs about 200 pounds. Police said the pair may be driving a Gold Toyota Camry with Oregon license plate CG9322.

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