Local man says parking lot crook scammed him out of hundreds of dollars
LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) —
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is warning people about two scammers on the prowl targeting shoppers.
They are taking your money and personal belongings when you're not looking.
Sometimes, they're targeting the most vulnerable people in our families: grandparents. The scammers have hit shopping centers on Lake Mead at Buffalo and Rampart.
They've also preyed on shoppers at West Charleston near Hualapai and Alta near Rampart.
One victim is a 90-year-old grandfather. He lost hundreds of dollars in a matter of minutes.
"What a dummy I am," said Robert Hahn. He admits he was caught off guard. "I was mad at myself," he explained.
The con-artists sounded convincing.
"They pulled up beside me and I rolled down my window and said, 'what's the problem?'" he noted. "They said, well, you backed into me," he continued.
It was a Thursday afternoon. Hahn was leaving a busy shopping center on Charleston near Hualapai.
According to police, the crooks got Hahn to believe he had hit their car.
It ended with a desperate plea for $150 to get it fixed.
"I pulled out $80 and told him that I would have to go to the bank to get some more money to pay the difference," explained Hahn.
At the bank, police say the crooks stole Hahn's debit card and pin.
$700 later, Hahn realized he had been duped.
"It's obviously costing these people a lot of grief and draining bank accounts," explained Detective Kirk Jordan.
Jordan has a folder of cases. There are 17 victims.
"It's just not cool," said Jordan. "It's not what you want to do to the citizens of Las Vegas."
Police want the two crooks caught and cuffed. They believe they're driving a blue car. If you recognize them, call Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where someone claims you've hit their car and they want money on the spot, Jordan recommends rolling up your windows, locking your doors and calling the police.
Metro Officer Larry Hadfield says the scammers are also targeting women who are shopping alone. Often times, the victims throw their purses in the front seat and then start loading their trunks.
"You have people in the parking lot, watching your actions, they're making sure you're not paying attention and will go over and reach through that door or open that car door," said Hadfield.
"You may not even know you're a victim of the crime until five minutes later, or until you get home," he continued.
Hadfield recommends keeping your belongings with you or in your locked car. When you get to your car, only unlock one door, not the entire car.
If you're shopping at night, park in an area with plenty of lights. Be weary of people just standing around in a parking lot.
Instinct is a major defense. Hahn wishes he had trusted his instinct before it was too late.
"I just couldn't believe something like that could happen," he said.