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Heads Up, Scammers in Full Effect

by Prince Of Petworth October 18, 2016 at 12:35 pm 35 Comments

scammers
Photo by PoPville flickr user Randall Myers

Readers reports:

“$20 for two $10s scam guy is back…or maybe he never went away. Spotted harassing folks at 15th and M this morning.”

and

“I’ve heard from several of my neighbors in the H Street area that “Neighbor Bruce” is back and coming to folks houses with a scam story about needing metro money and being locked out of his house. He is a white male, mid 50s, around 6′ tall, dressed in a full suit and tie.”

Ed. Note: He also goes by Gene

and

“Just want to give people a heads-up on this guy scamming people in the NoMa/Eckington neighborhood. It happened to me a few weeks ago, and this weekend I learned something similar by the same guy happened to one of my close friends. Considering the odds of that, I assume it has happened before and will happen to others.

Based on NC/VA/MD records, the guy in question is a convicted felon with priors in NC for felony B&E, robbery, assault on a police officer, plus numerous other petty larceny/obtaining money under false pretenses/drug possession charges, so that (combined with some things he said) gives me some reason to worry that he just might be involved in something beyond scamming gullible young professionals in the NoMa area.

On a Tuesday night a few weeks ago, a guy who looked to be anywhere from his late 20’s to mid-30’s stopped me outside of the NoMa metro station asking for a tank of gas to drive to North Carolina. He told me that his dad had just suffered a heart attack and his 14-year old brother was alone with him at a hospital in Durham. He said he didn’t have any money in his bank account to cover the gas, and it was right before the end of the month, so I thought that was plausible. I told him to meet me at a gas station on the corner of New York Ave and P St. NE. When I got there, he was standing outside his car waiting for me.

He told me that he was driving his roommate’s car, who was out of town, and was waiting on a text back from his roommate for permission to drive his car to NC, since his truck got bad gas mileage. He suggested cash would be easier. I didn’t feel comfortable giving him cash, so I told him to wait a few minutes to see if his roommate gave him permission to use his car so that I could just give him gasoline directly. After 5 or so minutes, I finally relented and got some money out of an ATM against my better judgment. He asked for my phone number and called/texted me his name telling me that he would meet me back there at the same location to pay me back when he returned. I was able to find him on Facebook based on the information he gave me (his first name, Eastern Carolina graduate, etc.) so I felt a little better about it.

Of course, he never responded to my text sent a week later. OK, fine, whatever, someone pulled one over on me.

Fast forward to this weekend, and my friend is describing a guy that stopped him one night in the same area in a moving truck asking for help. The guy said he had a moving company and had just unloaded some furniture at an apartment nearby and in the process had his wallet stolen out of his car and needed gas money to get back to NC. Long story short, he used a lot of the same personal details and charmed my friend into believing him and giving him some cash. Perhaps strangely (maybe this is my bias), he asked my friend for his address so that he could send him a check for the money and pay him back. My friend declined. He also offered to drop my friend off at his house. My friend also declined, and gave him his work address to send the money to. This obviously never happened.

We didn’t take this to the police – not sure if we should, given that we gave him less than $200 total and of course there are bigger things that deserve MPD resources than gullible 20-somethings giving cash to strangers. Maybe you guys have a different take on it.

Anyway, to save someone else the trouble, the guy goes by “Joey”. He’s white, 39 years old, and roughly 6′ 02″, maybe 230 lbs.”

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