Norwood Police Drive To Pennsylvania To Make Arrest In Phone Scam Case

NORWOOD (CBS) — With their latest arrest, Norwood Police are sending a message to scammers: “You can run, but you can’t hide.”

They said on their Facebook page Monday night that their officers traveled all the way to Reading, Pennsylvania to take 26-year-old Richie Winters into custody. Winters allegedly scammed a victim out of thousands of dollars while pretending to be her grandson.

Norwood Police charged Winters with larceny by false pretense and receiving stolen property.

Joan Hilchey reported last December that she got a call from someone claiming to be her grandson, and that this person said they had been arrested out of state and needed money to get out of jail.

scam1 Norwood Police Drive To Pennsylvania To Make Arrest In Phone Scam Case

Joan Hilchey fell victim to a “grandparent scam.” (WBZ-TV)

Police said Winters requested $1,450 in the first call, and that more calls kept coming requesting more money–until the victim had lost over $8,200.

“He gave me a number, ‘Grammy write this down ad they lawyer’s going to talk to you.’ What else do you say? Wouldn’t you believe that?,” said Hilchey.

“He said ‘Now don’t tell mom and dad. That’s the key. Don’t tell anyone.’”

Hilchey said her “heart sank” when she realized she was the victim of a scam.

The Norwood Police Department has warned against this type of scam in the past.

“The message to our citizens is that this is just one in a wide variety of scams targeting our citizens,” they wrote in Monday’s Facebook post. “DON’T accept calls from numbers not familiar to you; NEVER send money to a strange address via Western Union, Green Dot cards, ITUNES gift cards, as cash inserted in magazines or in other unusual ways. ALWAYS verify the person you are speaking with, this can be done by calling them back at a number you are familiar with.”

Norwood Officer Kevin Riley identified Winters as the caller, and found that Winters’ criminal history included theft, robbery, and receiving stolen property.

Police say transaction numbers and addresses used by Winters let them to him.

scam2 Norwood Police Drive To Pennsylvania To Make Arrest In Phone Scam Case

Richie Winters appears in court on May 9, 2017, accused in a “grandparent scam.” (WBZ-TV)

Officer Riley, accompanied by Officer Brendan Sweeney, drove all the way to Reading to make the arrest.

Winters was arraigned in Dedham District Court Tuesday. His defense attorney said police have the wrong suspect.

“They have no video evidence or any kind of surveillance that would in dicate who the person was,” Winters’ attorney told the court.

Norwood Police reminded the public to call them to report any suspicious calls or activity.

Hilchey said she is “thrilled” following Winters arrest, and has advice for others who may be targeted by similar scams.

“Don’t answer your phone unless you know the number,” she said.

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