Police warn of telephone scams, ATM/vehicle prowls

my newsTwo nearby police departments in Edmonds and Everett recently have sent out crime prevention warnings to residents that we are sharing.

Edmonds police are continuing to investigate reports of residents who have received calls from individuals claiming to be relatives who have been arrested. Another tactic is for someone to call and say that they have a relative held in jail and demand bail money form the victim. The caller will either ask for money to be wired to an account or connect them with a “bail bondsman,” who will either give instructions for a wire transfer or direct them to a bank where money should be deposited into a specific account.

So far on Thursday, police investigated two incidents where nearly $5,000 was scammed from the victims. In both cases the victims were elderly and were contacted by someone claiming to be a grandchild. One victim was directed to Bank of America to deposit funds into an account while the other was directed to use Western Union.

Police remind you to never give any personal information over the phone and to never provide money, in any form, to anyone who cannot be verified. If in doubt, hang up and contact other relatives know to the alleged caller. If that is not an option, do not hesitate to call 911 so an officer can contact you to provide assistance. The scammers will be very persistent and demand that you not disconnect. Trust your instinct if you feel something is wrong.

If you feel you have already been a victim of this scam, call 911. You should then call your bank to try to stop any transaction from going through.

Everett police report that multiple people in the region have been victims of vehicle prowls after withdrawing large sums of cash from ATMs.

Over the past three months, 17 victims in the region withdrew large sums of cash from banks. Of those, 12 were from Everett. Most of the victims left the cash in their vehicles while running errands and returned to find the money gone.

It is believed that two suspects followed the victims from the banks, broke into the vehicles and stole the money. In most cases, the vehicles were not occupied; however, two female victims were contacted and told they had flat tires. It was later determined that the tires had been intentionally slashed. In other cases, money was stolen from a male as he helped push a vehicle blocking the roadway while another man was robbed at gunpoint.

Reported losses are over $91,000. Locally, 11 of the victims withdrew money from a Boeing Employees Credit Union (BECU) branch office (11127 Evergreen Way) and one victim from a Wells Fargo bank (7502 Evergreen Way).

On July 17, the Everett Police Department and the Snohomish Regional Drug & Gang Task Force conducted a surveillance operation to locate, identify and arrest the suspects. The suspects were apprehended after stealing money from an undercover vehicle and were booked into the Snohomish County Jail under the names of Giovanny Ramirez-Pedraza, a 28 year-old male from Renton, and Javier Rojas-Diaz, a 45 year-old male from Kent. Both males have been released pending the criminal court process. It is believed the suspects primarily use vans and SUV’s to facilitate their crimes and additional suspects may be involved.

Property Crimes detectives reminder ATM users to be alert of their surroundings and never leave valuables or cash inside a vehicle.

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