Local News

Senior Citizens In Five Towns Conned Out Of Cash

Posted June 24, 2002

— Police in five cities are looking for a man they said is stealing from senior citizens.

The man poses as a police officer. His victims said he is well-dressed, pleasant and up to no good.

Levi Exum was on his porch when a man walked up and called his name. He was so well-dressed, Exum assumed he was important.

"He talked real nice and I know he was kind of highly educated. That's the way he was to me," he said.

Exum is one of nine people scammed by a man who claims to be a police officer or federal agent. The suspect has stolen money from people in Wilson, Smithfield, Goldsboro, Dunn and Sanford.

After talking with the person for a few minutes, the suspected con man tells his victims that they may be in legal trouble -- that they may have cash in their home that was part of a robbery.

The suspect tells his victims that he needs to see all their cash immediately so he can check the serial numbers. Police said many of the unsuspecting vicitms, hoping to clear their name, show the man everything they have.

"He said 'Do you have any of that money with you now?' and I said 'Yes.' I just happened to pull my pocketbook out. I wasn't thinking, I didn't catch it," Exum said.

Police say the con man has a certain victim in mind when looking for his next target.

"They have all been either black female or black male. All of them have been elderly. When I say elderly I'm talking about late 70s, 80s. I think the oldest is 92," said Sgt. Walter Martin of the Smithfield Police Department.

Exum wants every potential victim to hear him out.

"I tell them to look out and stay on your guard the best you can. What I'm trying to say is watch out for everybody. I don't care who it is," Martin said.

Police describe the suspect as an African-American man in his late 30s or early 40s. Victims said he has a medium build, is light-skinned and has a receding hairline. He dresses in a coat and tie and wears wire-rimmed glasses.

Police said he drives a green Ford Taurus.

Anyone with information is asked to call Wilson Police at (252) 399-2323.

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