Cops are looking for five women in connection to a citywide scam in which the perps approach middle-aged Asian women and persuade them that their jewelry is cursed.
In five recent incidents, the victims were approached by three of the five women pictured, who told them their families had been cursed, according to police. The victims were instructed to bring all of their jewelry and money in a bag to the women, who promised to perform a blessing ritual to reverse the curse. Once the bags were returned to the victims, they discovered that their money and valuables have been replaced by water bottles.
In the most recent incident, a 54-year-old woman was approached on 48th Street in Borough Park at around 3pm, on Wednesday, June 22, say cops. Jewelry, totaling $3,000 in value and $19,000 taken.
Similarly, in Bensonhurst, a 61-year-old woman was approached at approximately 3pm on April 27, in front of 73 Bay 22nd Street. The crooks made off with $130,000, according to the NYPD.
Cops cited two more incidents over the last three months in lower Manhattan and one in Queens, during which $20,000 to $280,000 was taken each time. Police shared surveillance photos of five women that are wanted for questioning.
Bensonhurst has been plagued by “cursed jewelry” scams of this nature since 2013. The thieves often speak to their Chinese immigrant victims in Cantonese to earn their trust. Police have warned residents to be vigilant and not to trust anyone who offers to rid their valuables of evil spirits.
Anyone with information in regards to these incidents is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.