Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Public safety

Tampa police search for man posing as officer in scam

TAMPA — Police are asking for help finding a man they suspect posed as a law enforcement officer and swindled an elderly woman out of $1,300.

This is what Tampa police say happened: A 91-year-old woman walking to a grocery store on North 40th Street was approached by a man who produced a gold-colored badge and identified himself as a police officer. He then showed her a photograph and wanted to know if her granddaughters were in it.

The man called the woman by her name and recited her address, police said. He told the woman he would wait to speak to her until after she went to the store and was waiting when she returned home.

There, she allowed him into her apartment. He said he was investigating women for fraud and that her granddaughters had told him she had money in the house and was supposed to give it to him.

The woman gave him $1,300 and he quickly left, police said.

Police believe the same man attempted to scam another elderly woman using the same method three days earlier. In that case, the man fled the scene without any money when he realized the 81-year-old victim was calling a family member to confirm his story, police said.

Police ask that anyone with information about the suspect call the Police Department at (813) 231-6130.

Anyone approached by a person identifying himself as a police officer should ask for identification if uncomfortable, police said. People can also contact the non-emergency number at (813) 231-6130 to verify the information.

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