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Police search for scam artists who targeted elderly Oak Park woman twice

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Posted at 3:51 PM, Jul 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-19 17:44:11-04

Police in Oak Park are on the lookout for a few people who scammed a senior citizen, not once but twice.

The second time, a man impersonated a police officer.

Police are calling this an elaborate scheme.

Back in October, police say a woman in her 80s was approached by someone in a parking lot near 9 Mile and Coolidge, claiming to have found a box of money.

This turned out to be a Pigeon Drop scene.

Police say the woman in the photo offered the box of money only if the elderly woman gave her cash.

According to police, the senior allowed the scammer to follow her home, where she gave her a few thousands in exchange for that box. But once she offered up the money, police say the woman took off.

The woman was victimized again in June and police say the man was pretending to be a detective investigating the Pigeon Drop scheme..

"Nobody should have known about the crime in June other than the police and our victim," said Lt. Troy Taylor.

The elderly woman reported the original scam to police.

Lt. Taylor is the detective handling that case.

"Now, we fast forward to June of this year. Our female victim receives a phone call from someone stating they are an Oak Park police detective investigating her previous scam case."

Officers say a man with a white beard wearing a suit pretended to be a detective and said he needed money to help solve the October case.

The victim and he went to a check cashing place in Detroit, according to police.

That's when she felt like another man was following them, police say he was possibly being a "lookout"

"At that time, our victim became very leery of what was going on and transpiring here and ask the employees or clerk at the check cashing place to call Detroit police."

Officers say that's when the men took off with the cash. The victim lost more than $20,000 in total from both crimes.

Police say no one else knew about the October scam except the victim, police and those involved, which is why they think the two incidents are connected.

But police are even more concerned now that one of the scammers is pretending to be a cop.

Lt Taylor explained, "People do trust the police and when you have people posing as police officers and victimizing people like this, it kind of diminishes that trust a whole heck of a lot."

Police are hoping someone will recognize the three suspects.

If you know who they are please call Oak Park police: 248-691-7520