Good Samaritan scam 12-23-08

Hawaii Police Department
South Hilo Patrol
Lieutenant Gregory Esteban
Phone: 961-2213
December 23, 2008
Report No. C08037444

Media Release

Police are issuing a warning to the public about a scam involving subjects posing as Good Samaritans.

Early on the afternoon of December 11, a Puna woman reported to police that while in the parking lot of a Hilo shopping mall and about to enter her parked car, a man approached her and informed her that the car had a safety problem. He reportedly offered to assist her in repairing it.

The woman reported that the man entered her car through the passenger door and convinced her to drive to another location in the parking lot. She reported that a white pickup truck with an extended cab and dark, tinted windows pulled up to their location and that a younger male removed her car’s jack from the trunk. He appeared to use the jack to raise the vehicle in an effort to repair her supposedly defective wheel.

The elderly victim said the male subjects informed her that a component on her vehicle was broken. She said they offered to repair it for her by having one of the subjects pay for the part with his credit card and letting her reimburse him with cash.

The victim reported that she withdrew an undisclosed amount of cash from an account and gave the money to the subjects for the "repair." Both subjects left the area in the pickup truck and failed to return.

Officers determined that nothing was mechanically defective with the woman’s car.

The older man is described as possibly Asian, about 5-foot-6 with dark eyes and medium-length dark, spiked hair. The other male is described as possibly a teenager with a light mustache and short, dark hair.

A female, a young child and an infant remained in the extended cab portion of the truck throughout the incident.

Police are reviewing video footage from a business in the area in an attempt to identify the younger subject, who accompanied the victim inside a business.

Police want to alert the public about this scam, as well as to caution citizens that allowing strangers to enter their vehicles could compromise their personal safety.         

Police ask anyone with information on the identities of the suspects or anyone who witnessed this incident to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

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