A team of scam artists is targeting elderly Asian women in Bensonhurst and Bath Beach, police warned at the 62nd Precinct’s Community Council meeting yesterday.
On November 5, three woman approached a 74-year-old woman at a restaurant on 86th street and 24th Avenue and offered to bless her money and valuables to rid them of evil spirits, making off with $35,000 in cash as well as her jewelry, cops said. This incident matched a pattern of burglaries that occurred in 2013.
The Cantonese-speaking thieves would approach their victims, strike up a friendly conversation, and then warn them of bad fortune coming their way, cops said. The scam artists would tell their victims that the only way to rid themselves of the curse was to have their jewelry and money “blessed.” Victims would be told to go home and deposit all their valuable in a special bag, which would be handed over to the crooks and later returned filled with water bottles, newspapers, or food. Victims were warned not to open the bag for two weeks and by that time, the con artists were long gone.
Earlier this year, we reported that the Asian community in Bensonhurst was being disproportionately targeted by crime, with Asians accounting for 19 out of 20 burglary victims in the area.
If you or someone you know is approached by a person offering to bless your valuables, call the 62nd Precinct immediately (718) 236-2611.