Resident loses $28,000 in refund scam: Middleburg Heights Police Blotter

HEIGHTS OF MIDDLEBURG, Ohio

Fraud: Newton Road

An officer spoke with a woman on April 22 about fraudulent activity in her bank account. She said that on April 15, she reviewed her emails and noticed one that showed a purchase of $2,698.99 for two cell phones on Amazon. The delivery of the phones has been fixed for an address in Delaware. She didn’t order the phones. She called the Fraud Protection Team phone number listed in the email. She later discovered that the number was not associated with Amazon. A woman told her that she needed to put her in touch with someone from the fraud department to refund her money. The woman also explained that she was from Thailand but now lives in California. The officer asked if the woman had an accent. The caller said the woman had one that might be associated with Africa. She then spoke with a man who had an Indian accent. He said she had to go online and access her banking information to receive the refund. She told him she didn’t do online banking. He said it had to happen if she wanted a refund. She called her credit union and kept it on the line due to her instructions. Once online banking was established, the woman said the man caused a black screen to appear on her computer. She said he somehow got remote access to her computer and was controlling everything from his end. She said she did not go to any websites or click on any links. She was baffled by the way he had taken control. Meanwhile, she told the officer while the screen was black, he told her to enter her name. He said he couldn’t transfer large amounts of money all at once and told her to enter the amount of $2,600. She did, but couldn’t enter a period after the second zero, so the amount became $26,000. This was sent to the man by bank transfer. She told the man to cancel the transaction, but he said he couldn’t because it was a robot. The man was upset and said he would lose his job unless she called his bank and explained that the amount was wrong. He also said the IRS would follow the money and his business would be in trouble – and so would she. At 3:32 p.m. on April 15, the victim went to his bank and wired $20,000. She gave the agent data on where that money was sent. The man later told her he needed a wire transfer for $6,000, but she said she was working and couldn’t do it. The suspect became very upset and kept telling her to stop shutting down her computer. The man called her on April 18 and said the wire transfer hadn’t gone through. She told him that her bank said yes. He asked her to provide him with a referral code and wire another $8,000. She said it was snowing and she wouldn’t go out. He had an answer to that too. He told her to transfer the funds over the phone and to inform the bank that the transfer was for an “investment”. She did it. The victim looked at his bank account the next day and saw that his funds were gone. She called the man and he said, “No, ma’am, our money will be transferred back. She then went to her bank and explained what had just happened. She told the officer she was missing $28,050.

Accident with sideline jump: Bagley Road

An officer at 1:20 p.m. on April 22 saw a car on I-71 approaching his cruiser. The car made several sudden lane changes. The driver passed him in the high-speed lane. When she saw him, she steered the car down three lanes and onto the off ramp. The officer followed. The suspect’s car drove left of center in oncoming traffic and did not stop at a red light. The officer activated the cruiser’s hazard lights and siren. The car continued and reached approximately 90 mph. The officer stopped pursuing due to heavy traffic. However, he continued in her direction. He saw the car hit another. He reactivated the hazard warning lights and stopped at the time of the accident. He learned that the occupants of the car had fled on foot and were in the McDonald’s parking lot. He saw the two women running into the parking lot. He pulled into the parking lot and found one of the women on the ground. He handcuffed her. Customers directed him to a nearby car where the fleeing driver was hiding behind. She had on the same orange hat he had seen on the driver of the car in question. He ordered him to the ground while holding his Taser. She complied. He asked her why they were driving so recklessly. She said they were from SouthPark Mall. The officer asked the dispatcher to call Strongsville police if there had been any recent incidents at the mall. He learned that there was a report of theft at a store and that the corresponding car matched the description. Strongsville police planned to respond to the scene. The driver showed no remorse for her reckless actions. She said as soon as the cruiser came up behind her “it was on”. Both cars were out of order. The pregnant driver of the car she hit was taken to hospital. The driver who caused the accident showed no remorse. When checking cars before being towed away, the one running away had a large amount of perfume from the store in question. The two were suspects in a similar robbery at a Parma store that day. They were cited for theft. The driver faces another charge.

Property found: Engle Road

An officer attended the Hampton Inn & Suites at 10:30 a.m. on April 22 to retrieve a gun found in a room. Officer ran the gun through LEADS. The weapon was clean. The agent contacted the owner. He said he would pick him up at the police station. He did.

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