A Norristown woman reported to the that she was the victim of a scam on Friday, Oct. 7. The alleged con man relieved the woman and her daughter of $420 with a sob story and "the old switcheroo."
The woman told police she was approached by a black male in his 40s with a beard and an African accent in the area of Marshall and Chain streets sometime around 12:30pm on Friday. The man told the victim he had just arrived in a taxi from Philadelphia and that the ride cost him $500. As she was speaking to the suspect, another man she did not know approached and joined their conversation. The second man was described as a black male in his early 40s, 5'10", 200lbs and wearing glasses.
According to the reports, the suspect told the two that he did not know where he was and that he needed a place to stay. He told them that he had money and produced a large wad of cash. Both the victim and the second man told the suspect to put his money away before someone robs him.
The second man, believed by police to be working with the suspect, offered to give the suspect a ride to a nearby church where he could find temporary lodging. The suspect agreed and asked the victim to hold his money so that no one would steal it from him. The victim agreed to hold the man's money but the suspect allegedly told her he would need to see her money in order to trust her. The victim then produce $320 in cash and showed it to the suspect.
According to the reports, at this point the victim's daughter joined her on the street. The suspect reportedly began to act suspicious of the two women and asked that the two women combine their money with his so he could trust them both. The victim and her daughter reportedly handed the suspect their money ($320 from the victim and an additional $100 from the daughter) and the suspect began to wrap the money in a rag.
As the suspect wrapped the money, the victim stated the second man "distracted them." The suspect then returned the rag seemingly filled with cash to the victim and left with the second man, saying he would meet the victim to retrieve the money at in half an hour after he was settled at the church.
According to the victim, she and her daughter ran an errand and then went to the McDonald's to meet with the suspect. Once there, she opened the rag and discovered that it was filled with paper.
Police were unable to locate the suspects.