An 85-year-old New Jersey woman helped police catch two alleged street scammers from New York who were trying to con elderly people into giving them money, authorities said.
Police say the suspects were running a scam knows as a pigeon drop, which involves convincing a mark -- in this case, elderly residents -- to give them a small amount of money in exchange for what the target is told will be a larger amount or other valuable.
The scammers then allegedly take the money and leave the victim with either a bag of small bills or pieces of plain paper.
In this case, authorities say Norman Gladney, of the Bronx, allegedly walked up to the 85-year-old woman on Grand Avenue in Leonia one morning and showed her a bag filled with money he claimed to have found on the street. He allegedly offered to share the money with her and another woman who happened to be passing by at the time, according to NorthJersey.com.
That other woman, Cheryl Lewis, was part of the alleged con, police said. Gladney asked Lewis if she had a vehicle nearby and then the two tried to get the elderly woman into the car with them, authorities said. The 85-year-old woman refused and reported the suspects to police.
Police caught up with Gladney and Lewis a short time later sitting in a car with another elderly woman in the back seat. The woman in the back seat, who is also in her 80s, told police the suspects lured her into the car with the same ruse, asked her where her bank was and offered to drive her there.
Gladney, 59, and Lewis, 54, were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit theft by deception. Both have criminal records involving thefts dating back to the 1970s.
Information on attorneys wasn't immediately available.