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Police warn of 'neighbor' trying to dupe people out of money

Posted June 9, 2009

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— Police warned Monday that a well-dressed man has tried to dupe at least four people out of money, claiming to be a neighbor who locked his keys in his car.

Between May 19 and June 3, four Raleigh residents reported to police that the man knocked on their doors and asked to use the phone. After pretending to call a locksmith to get his keys out of his car, the man asked the victims for money to pay the locksmith.

In some cases, the man asked the residents to give him a ride to meet the locksmith, police said.

None of the victims' money has been recovered.

The man was described as a black man in his 20s or early 30s, standing between 5 feet 7 inches and 5 feet 9 inches tall. He has a slender build and was well dressed.

Police cautioned against letting strangers into your house and urged residents to always report suspicious activity or people.

Anyone who has experienced a similar incident was asked to call 911 to report it.

Those with information about the cases should call Raleigh police detectives at 919-996-3555 or Crime Stoppers at 919-226-2746. Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards for tips that help clear cases, and callers never have to identify themselves.

18 Comments

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  • TriangleMommy Jun 15, 2009

    Geez I was taught as a child that if someone every came to the door with this kind of story you could bring the phone to them (or in the days pre-cordless phones, offer to call for them). If they are legit they'll take the offer, if not they leave. But the key is you don't let a stranger into your home. Even if you are an adult. It is still possible to be helpful and nice to folks without being taken advantage of.

  • panthers254 Jun 9, 2009

    there are plenty of money in these sort of scams because there are so many naive gullible bleeding hearts out there.

    that being said, i have done plenty to help out people who are hungry. but the scam artists are not interested in food or gas, just cold hard cash. the people who are actually out asking for a ride somewhere are the worst. i've been working around criminals way too long to be giving rides out to strangers.

  • mattbman Jun 9, 2009

    OK first of all, it's probably not all the same person, it's just begging with a story. Most people know that if you can play on people's emotions, you get a better response. It's a fairly easy scam to pull off and only requires that you be able to withstand people telling you no.

    I had a similar "my tire blew out, I need to get a new one" thing pulled on me in Mini-City a few years ago, he said he was over at the Firestone place about a block up the street and that he talked to the guy and it would be 100 dollars. I could have bought him a new set of tires, so I called the Firestone place (it happened to be on my cell phone because I had been there two weeks earlier), so I started calling them. When he figured out who I was talking to, he walked away very fast.

    It's really sad that these scam artists make us think twice about stopping to help people when they really need it.

  • AtALost Jun 9, 2009

    Hopefully everyone reading this will stop opening doors, rolling down car windows, etc. to talk to strangers. Anyone needing help should contact family, friends or the police. In some cases, they want to do much worse than just steal your money. Any adult with a vehicle should have the means to keep it on the road/repair it or else stay at home. As for the locksmith, the same guy who loaned the guy his car can also loan him the money to pay for the unlock. Good thing I didn't know people were this gullible during my formative years. I'd probably be a con artist myself since it's so easy sometimes.

  • raleighwakenative Jun 9, 2009

    stratomaster-

    that same guy approached me in KMart Pkg lot on Western Blvd. many years ago. I told him to call AAA or the police and he started shouting racial epithets at me. What is scary is that he came out of nowhere and appeared at my door before I could even lock it. I did not go back to that K-Mart for years. Now my chow chow is my navigator if I shop there.

  • RoyzDaMan Jun 9, 2009

    This happens in the Whole Foods Shopping Center in Durham, maybe 35-40 times a day. Why is it such a huge story now?

  • tank1234 Jun 9, 2009

    Are these people stupid or what. I open the door with my pit standing beside me. People go away real quick.

  • SweetB Jun 9, 2009

    I let my dogs bark a lot and I tell them that we don't have time and they should not come back. I was taught at a very young age NOT to let strangers in...

  • sayitoutloud Jun 9, 2009

    I dont open my door for anybody. Nor do I give strangers money.

  • Lougrantstwin Jun 9, 2009

    I was approached by a guy wanting money for gas in the drive through line at McDonalds. He pulled his car up next to mine and let his window down and started the I need gas to get to Grandma's. I picked up my cell phone and said "I can't help you, but the Police can, I call them right now for you. Apparently, he didn't want their help, he left the parking so fast I couldn't see his tag number.

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