YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Yonkers police officer went above and beyond to track down an elderly man before he became a victim of a scam.
As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, it’s a story of a cell phone call, a demand for money, and an elderly victim willing to do anything for a grandchild.
The victim’s daughter told police her elderly dad rushed out to get money after the caller said he’d kill his grandson.
Officer Scott Harsany — in his patrol car nearby — only knew the grandson was fine and the call was a scam. He was looking for a man he’d never met driving somewhere on busy Central Avenue, Young reported.
“He had already left the Chase bank; he had already gotten the money and it was my assumption that he was looking for a place to wire the money,” said Harsany.
After the dispatcher pinged the victim’s cell phone, Harsany knew he was somewhere in a shopping center one town over in Greenburgh.
So the officer figured he might have headed to the CVS, where there’s a Moneygram phone inside. And on his way in, he ran into the victim in the knick of time.
“As I’m walking across the lot, I see an 80-year-old man exiting CVS. As I’m approaching the victim, I can see he’s on a cell phone and I can hear somebody on the cell phone yelling for the victim to give the pin number,” Harsany said. “I said ‘Sir, your grandson’s OK.’ At that time he had complete relief and had a few choice words for the suspect on the phone.”
The victim got his money back. But others have not been so lucky.
Mel Goldstein said he fell for the same scam.
“It ended up at $7,500,” he said.
Police said a week hardly goes by without another victim rushing to give away cash out of fear.
“They operate on a sense of urgency and they want you to make a move like the gentleman did yesterday. He left his house within seconds of getting that call,” said Yonkers Police Lt. Patrick McCormicK. “We’re asking people slow down.”
Especially since there’s no guarantee that a cop like Harsany will be able to get there in time.