Men accused of scamming 60-year-old out of $15,000 in 'pigeon drop' scheme
BATON ROUGE - Police have arrested at least one suspect for his role in an alleged "pigeon drop" trust scam.
On October 13, 2016, two men allegedly convinced a 60-year-old victim to withdraw $15,000 from his bank. Authorities say the victim was approached by a stranger in a parking lot. The suspect, identified as Jerome Watts, asked for a ride to a nearby restaurant.
At the restaurant, the victim and Watts were met by another unidentified man.
According to the arrest report, the second man asked the other men to withdraw a large amount of money. The man offered to match them dollar for dollar as compensation since he was unable to use the bank.
After the victim drove to the bank, Watts pretended to withdraw his funds. The victim withdrew $15,000 of his own money. A third man acted as the "look-out" while the scheme unfolded. He was later identified as Samuel Morris through surveillance video.
All three men placed their money, contained in envelopes, on the center console of the victim's vehicle. According to the police report, they then spoke about religion and trust to put the victim's mind at ease.
When the two men disappeared, the victim noticed his money was gone.
Police say most "pigeon drop" scams involve the suspect flashing a large amount of money to the victim, claiming that they don't trust banks. The suspect then offers to share some of the money with the victim, if they withdraw their own cash from a bank to prove they can be trusted.
Often a second accomplice is involved in order to help convince the victim.
Samuel Morris was arrested and charged with theft of assets of an aged or disabled person.
It's unclear if the other two suspects have been located.
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