Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Public safety

Tampa police looking for man running red-light ticket scam

Police were looking Friday for a man they say tried to scam a woman out of $498 by falsely claiming she owed him the money for running a red light.

Patricia Long, 63, of Tampa, got a phone call Wednesday from a man who identified himself as "Lt. Bell with the Tampa Violations Bureau," a nonexistent agency. The man told Long she owed the bureau $262 for running a red light in October, and an additional $236 for contempt of court because she hadn't paid, according to Tampa police.

The man told Long she needed to put the money on his pre-paid debit card, or she faced another court appearance. Then Long's husband took the phone, and the man hung up.

Tampa Det. Mike Victor said a suspect has tried a similar scam in two open Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office cases, and he believes it's the same man.

"It's just a very brazen, bold move to try to extort money like this," Victor said.

Anyone with information on the cases can call Tampa police at (813) 231-6130.

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