Riverside Police Department
Press Release


For Immediate Release

Date December 4, 2003
Contact Officer Felix Medina Jr.
Phone (909) 826-5939
Fax (909) 826-2593


Thefts by Scam being investigated by Police

Riverside, Ca- The Riverside Police Department has investigated four thefts by a scam artist within the last two months. These thefts involved the same suspect, who is described as an Asian female, 5 feet tall, and 100 pounds.

The female has approached the victims saying that she is from a foreign country and wants to donate money to charity. After she obtains the trust from the victim, she has the victim drive to the victim’s bank to withdraw money from his or her own account. After the withdrawal is made, the suspect tells the victim that she is having a personal emergency and needs to purchase some items inside of a near-by store. The suspect says she is unable to go inside of the store, so the victim goes inside to purchase the items for her. While the victim is inside, the female suspect takes the victims money left in the vehicle and flees. When the victim returns, he or she finds the suspect and their money missing.

So far, there have been no witnesses to identify any vehicle used by the suspect to flee the area. Losses can involve several thousand dollars in each scam.

Most “pigeon drop” scams are a slight variation on the following scenario. This scam consists of the victim being approached by a suspect that informs them that he/she has a large sum of money. How or why they got the money varies but they all say that they want to give the money to the victim to hold or take care of. However, before they turn over the money, the victim has to show the suspect that they have their own money. They usually request to see several thousand dollars. As the victim gets and shows his money, a switch is made and the victim is left with a bag of paper scraps. This scams works because the suspect gains the trust of the victim and they usually offer to split or give the large sum of money to the victim. In these cases there is no switch since the suspect convinces the victim to leave the car, affording the suspect a chance to flee into an awaiting vehicle driven by an accomplice.

There is a possibility that there are additional unreported incidents involving this same female suspect targeting other victims. Anyone with information regarding these cases is encouraged to call Detective Brian Money with the Riverside Police Department at (909) 320-8050.