Man impersonating police officer flashes badge and scams elderly woman out of $1,300

Tampa police want people to be aware of scam

TAMPA, Fla. - "I don't have no money now. No, he took all my money," said 91-year old Emma Lee Rice.

Rice can only stare in disbelief that she handed over $1,300 to a complete stranger.  It was money she had saved for an upcoming move.

"It's terrible.  Telling me all those stories, that he's a police," recalled Rice.

According to Rice, she was walking along 40th St. N., just south of Hillsborough Ave., on her way to the B&D grocery store when she stopped to rest near the Gary Adult School.

A passing motorist waved, and she waved back.  The car made a U-turn and stopped.

"The suspect identified himself as a police officer," said Janelle McGregor, spokesperson for the Tampa Police Department.   

The suspect displayed a badge and even showed Rice photos he said were her grandkids; that he was investigating them for fraud.

She allowed him into her home and he said he was supposed to get the money for the grandkids. She gave it to him. After looking closely at the picture, she said that it wasn't her granddaughters after all.

"When I seen he was taking the money, I said, 'Hey, give me my money.'  And he runs out, running out of here, fast," Rice explained.

"What's so disturbing about this case is that the suspect is using a police badge, a symbol of protection, to gain the confidence of these elderly women," said McGregor.

Tampa police believe the same suspect tried to scam another elderly woman using the same method just three days earlier.

"She became a little uncomfortable and she ended up calling one of her family members to see if the suspect's story checked out.  That alerted the suspect and he ended up taking off without any money," McGregor said.

Police say the suspect was wearing a gray business suit and a badge.  If you have any information contact Tampa Police.

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