South San Francisco police are seeking the public’s help to identify two men suspected of bilking $3,000 from a 69-year-old man in what is known as a pigeon drop scam.
On Aug. 21, the man was approached on Spruce Avenue by the suspect who drove up asking for directions and then claimed he was from South Africa and distributing $80,000 to churches as part of his father’s will. The suspect asked the man to help him distribute the money because he was returning to South Africa. The suspect also contacted another man, later identified as an accomplice but acting at the time as though they were not acquainted, to help distribute the money.
In return, both the accomplice and victim were told they’d receive $10,000 but were first asked to provide the suspect with $7,000 as a good faith gesture, according to South San Francisco police.
The victim withdrew $3,000 in cash from his savings account and gave it to the suspect who further instructed him to drive around the Safeway building on El Camino Real as an additional sign of trust while he and the accomplice waited near the Salvation Army. When the victim returned, the two men and money were gone.
The suspect is described as a black male, 40 to 45 years old, 160 pounds, with a lighter complexion, mustache and wavy black and gray hair. He wore khaki pants and a button-up dress shirt.
The accomplice is described as a black male, 40 to 45 years old, 200 pounds, dark complexion, mustache and short curly black hair. He wore a light green suit.