A quick-thinking grandmother from Long Island turned the tables on a suspected elder scammer after he called her up last week and pretended to be her grandson in desperate need of bail money following a DUI arrest.
The woman, who identified herself as Jean, from Seaford, New York, saw right through the ruse.
‘He starts calling me “grandma,” and then I’m like, I don’t have a grandson that drives, so I knew it was a scam,’ Jean told CBS New York.
Instead of hanging up on the conman, Jean, a retired 911 operator who described herself as a ‘bored grandma,’ decided to play along and lure him into a trap.
Jean, 73, a grandmother-of-seven retired 911 operator from Long Island, last week helped the police catch a suspected elder scammer by luring him to her home
A Ring camera at Jean’s home in Seaford captured the suspect arriving to collect $8,000 in cash towards her bogus grandson’s bail
This image shows the suspect walking away with a yellow envelope containing paper towels instead of cash
Police officers were lying in wait and arrested the suspect on the spot
Video recorded by a doorbell camera captured the dramatic outcome of Jean’s ploy, showing two Nassau County police officers tackling the suspected swindler to the ground as he turned to leave, carrying an envelope stuffed with cut-up paper towels instead of $8,000 in bail money.
The Nassau County Police Department has identified the suspect as Joshua Estrella Gomez, 28, from Mineola, who was arrested on Thursday on a charge of attempted grand larceny.
Gomez was released on a an appearance ticket and is due back in court on February 3.
According to the authorities, the incident began unfolding on Thursday morning, when the would-be victim, Jean, received a call from a man claiming to be her grandson.
The conman was tackled to the ground on Jean’s lawn as she coolly looked on
The caller told his ‘grandmother’ that he was driving while intoxicated and was involved in an accident in which a woman was hurt, resulting in his arrest, reported News 12.
But all of Jean’s seven grandchildren are either in elementary or middle school, and none of them drives, according to Newsday.
A short time later, the 73-year-old grandmother got a second call from another man claiming to be her grandson’s lawyer, Matt Levine, and asking her for $8,000 towards her jailed grandson’s bail.
Joshua Estrella Gomez, 28, from Mineola, who was arrested on Thursday on a charge of attempted grand larceny
Then, a third call came in from yet another man identifying himself as Jean’s grandson’s bail bondman, who infirmed the woman’s that he was in the area of her home in Seaford to collect the bail money.
‘I told him I had the money in the house, and I figured, he’s not going to fall for that. Well, he fell for that hook, line and sinker,’ Jean told CBS New York with a laugh.
Jean quickly contacted the police and reported the scam.
By the time Gomez arrived at the woman’s home to pick up the bail money, two officers were waiting for him inside.
Ring video shows Gomez, dressed in a tan coat, a beanie hat and a facemask, show up on Jean’s doorstep, where she hands him a yellow envelope stuffed with paper towels.
The unsuspecting swindler turns around to leave with his loot, at which point a pair of uniformed officers emerge from their hiding place, tackle him to the ground and pin him down on Jean’s lawn, with the homeowner coolly looking on from her porch.
in retrospect, Jean said she does not know what prompted her to engage with the scammer and invite him over to her house, instead of hanging up the phone like she has done many times before.
‘Bored grandma 1, bad guy 0,’ Jean told NBC New York with a chuckle.
Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder praised Jean during a press conference on Friday, quipping that she should be deputized as a commissioner.
Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder praised Jean during a press conference on Friday, joking that she should be deputized as a commissioner
‘These individuals sit at home and have nothing better to do than to think of ways to take advantage of our elderly,’ Ryder said of criminal preying on the elderly.
Jean’s son said he is proud of his mother for helping take down a criminal, although he would have preferred if she hung up, instead of going through with her subterfuge.
‘I was playing a game, it was entertaining,’ Jean said. ‘I didn’t think it was really going to happen. I thought the guy would catch me in a lie. Obviously, I was pretty good because he believed me.’