Verona Police arrested a man on Wednesday for attempting to steal from an elder resident through a scam call.
According to police, on August 4 a 91-year-old Verona resident received a phone call which is commonly referred to as Grandparent Bail Scam calls.
Police said that in these scams the caller identifies themselves as an attorney and explains that the resident's grandson was involved in a situation and needed $15,000 in cash for bail. He stated that the resident could not speak with anyone as there was a "gag order" on the case.
According to police, the information provided was very convincing and the resident believed his grandson was in trouble. The caller stated that he would send a representative to his house to retrieve the cash.
After the resident drove to his bank, he became suspicious and stopped at Police Headquarters. Due to the fact the caller believed the resident was cooperating, Verona Police set up a plan to monitor the "exchange".
Detective Lieutenant Timothy Banta and Captain David Wardrope snuck through rear yards to enter the residents' home due to the fact they believed (later confirmed) that the residence was already being observed by the person sent to retrieve the cash.
Police said that the caller then called the resident again and advised him on further instructions and stated the "courier" was pulling up to retrieve the cash.
According to police, as the person exited his vehicle and approached the front door, D/Lt Banta and Captain Wardrope exited the residence and a foot pursuit ensued. The suspect was apprehended a block and a half away and was arrested without incident.
The suspect was charged with Theft by Deception, Conspiracy to Commit Theft and Resisting Arrest. After being processed, he was released with a court date in September.
Due to the ongoing investigation, the suspects' name is not being released at this time.
"Thankfully the resident contacted the Verona Police and was not scammed out of his money. He did a great job in assisting the process and his calm and cool demeanor kept the caller engaged," Chief Christopher Kiernan said "
We urge all residents, especially seniors, to be vigilant in protecting themselves from these scams. The best deterrent against these scams is awareness. My advice is to not pick up unknown numbers and let them go to voicemail.
If you do answer, just hang up on any caller who asks for money and or alternate payment methods (gift cards, etc) for government services or utility monies owed. Always call the Police if you have questions and never ever trust anyone who tells you not to call the Police."
"These scammers are very active. This person arrested is only a small part of a large operation that originates overseas. In his capacity as a courier (or mule) for the operation, he was turning down work that wasn't local enough for his convenience."