An arrest has been made in connection with a scam of elderly Long Island residents, including an 81-year-old Oceanside woman who was cheated out of $45,000, authorities said Wednesday.
Police declined to release the suspect's name. A news briefing regarding the arrest will be held Thursday.
Police had released the image of a man, captured by the Oceanside victim's doorbell video, earlier this month. Then during a Dec. 7 news conference, county leaders announced the reward in the case had doubled to $10,000.
At the time, authorities said the man ripped off or tried to steal about $100,000 this year from his victims — all above the age of 70 — by employing various lies, including telling them a loved one has been arrested, injured or both, and that they are desperate for money.
In his biggest known scam — the Oceanside case caught on camera — the perpetrator allegedly phoned the woman Dec. 3 and told her that her son had been arrested after a car accident and needed $7,500 to make bail, police had said.
Once he had that money, the perpetrator returned with another lie, telling her that a woman in the accident had been pregnant but lost the baby, so the bail was raised to $15,000, police said. He got another $7,500 from her, police said, but then came back for a third time, saying that some $30,000 was needed in medical expenses because her son and the woman were injured in the crash.
Video from the woman's front door showed a man with a stout build, and when the woman hands him cash, he responds with a thumbs up and a big smile before walking away. He was driving a dark Ford Fusion with a license plate marked with TL & C, police said.
He also scammed a Roslyn senior out of $30,000, a Great Neck senior out of more than $5,900, another Oceanside senior out of $8,430 and tried but failed to take $18,000 from a Farmingdale resident, police said. Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said police matched the suspect to the other scams through other videos and pictures and victims’ descriptions.
County leaders urged the public to be aware of such scams and report them to police.
“It’s nothing to be embarrassed about,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran had said at the news conference. “This guy, this dirtbag, came to the woman’s door. We want to make sure that every senior knows how to protect themselves, so they don’t become preyed upon.”