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Men wanted in Durham 'pigeon drop' scam

Posted November 13, 2013

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— Durham police are searching for two men accused of working together in a scam known as a pigeon drop.

Charles Henry Arms, 73, and Ramee Shabazz, 57, both of Charlotte, were released from jail after posting bond on charges related to the scam, and investigators have since added more charges.

Police said the first incident happened Sept. 27 at Walmart on Glenn School Road. A man claiming to be an African refugee approached a woman and told her he had inherited $150,000 but couldn’t take it back to his country because he would be killed. He told her a dead relative wanted him to donate the money to a church, and he needed her help. A second man then came up to offer assistance.

The woman was told she needed to put up $10,000 in good faith before she could get the full amount. She made the exchange and later discovered she had been given paper instead of cash.

On Oct. 21, a woman reported she had been scammed out of $790 by two men who approached her at the same Walmart. The men claimed they found a wallet with $60,000 in the parking lot and would share it with her if she paid the taxes on it. The woman gave them cash and later discovered she received paper instead on money.

Following tips, investigators found the men last week at a Walmart on Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and arrested them. Police said the men were in the company of an elderly woman who said they approached her about a bag of money they had found in the parking lot.

Arms was charged with two counts of felony conspiracy and two counts of obtaining property by false pretense. Shabazz was charged with felony conspiracy and obtaining property by false pretense.

Since posting bond, both men have been charged with an additional count of felony conspiracy and obtaining property by false pretense.

Anyone with information on their whereabouts is asked to call police at 919-560-4440, extension 2913, or Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200.


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  • sillymee Nov 22, 2013

    I see these men believe Walmart customers are easily duped.

  • TriangleMommy Nov 15, 2013

    are we supposed to feel sorry for the people stupid enough to fall really old, really obvious scams?

  • durhamhokie Nov 14, 2013

    A wallet with 60k??? Oy vey, I want to feel sorry for these victims, but they must be dumb as a brick.

  • MPS Nov 14, 2013

    "It must be a real talent to find people this gullible to participate in such a thing---these guys should be hired to be salesmen someplace." -deansquishman

    I bet 0bama calls them before the day is over about some openings in the healthcare navigation sector!

  • carthoughts Nov 14, 2013

    Why is it called pigeon drop?

  • gingerlynn Nov 14, 2013

    a sucker is born every minute!

  • deansquishman Nov 14, 2013

    It must be a real talent to find people this gullible to participate in such a thing---these guys should be hired to be salesmen someplace

  • TeaBagOnLove Nov 14, 2013

    This has got to be the best article ever. Can you believe that these guys found this many stupid people? I know it is a Walmart parking lot and all, but this many people at the same Walmart?

  • busyb97 Nov 13, 2013

    You can't make this stuff up, that's for sure!

  • STRAWBERRY LETTER 23 Nov 13, 2013

    LOL! The WOMAN deserved to lose her money! Good GRIEF!!