(BLOOMFIELD) - There's a scam going around Greene County that preys on elderly victims -- offering them boxed meat products at greatly inflated prices.
Nick Schneider of the Greene County Daily World reports that so far, the theft/fraud scam has taken several innocent victims for hundreds of dollars, according to Greene County Sheriff's Deputy Jim O'Malley, who's investigating the case.
Police need help from the public in putting a stop to these unlawful transactions.
The perpetrators are reported to be two fast-talking, respectable-looking Caucasian men, who have been identified as driving two different Ford F-150 pickups with a chest-type freezer in the bed. One truck is blue, while the other is white, according to O'Malley.
One suspect has dark hair and is described as 6-2 in height and weighing between 300 and 350 pounds. He's clean cut and has short hair.
The other man is younger and is about 5-8 tall with a slender build and blond hair.
O'Malley said police have been able to obtain a very good photo of the dark-haired older suspect from surveillance videotape at Bloomfield State Bank, where he quickly cashed a check after a recent fraudulent transaction.
The scam was first reported about a month ago and to date has victims or near-victims in Jasonville, Worthington and Bloomfield and the most recent report was on Feb. 14.
One victim is reported to have received about 30 pounds of meat for $1,200. Another woman reportedly paid $180 for a box that she thought was full, but contained just a pound and a half of meat, according to O'Malley.
The pair is allegedly selling meat in black-colored boxes that have no brand names or logos on them. There is an official-looking United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection sticker on the box, but O'Malley isn't sure it is legitimate.
One recent brazen illegal transaction reportedly took place in the parking lot of the Dollar General Store on the south side of Bloomfield in which an elderly couple thought they were buying 17 boxes of meat.
However, after the suspects drove away, they realized that one of the men somehow had swiftly removed all of the boxes except one from their 'station wagon' type car that they thought they had purchased while the other one was talking to them and having them write a check, Deputy O'Malley explained.
There have also been reports of the duo in the rural areas of the county trying to bilk victims out of money or checks, Deputy O'Malley says.
In a case or two, younger children have been told that 'mothers' have ordered meat and they are at the residence to deliver it and pick up a blank check.
Checks have been handed over and filled out in names that O'Malley suspects were simply lifted from the phone book.
"They appear to be cashing all the checks as soon as they get them," the deputy stated.
All county police agencies have been notified of the scam and told to be on the look out for the suspects.
Anyone who has information about the case or if you've been a victim is asked to contract O'Malley at the Greene County Sheriff's Department by calling 384-4411.
"Most of these people (elderly victims) are on fixed incomes. These guys are just ripping people off. It's like they have no conscious whatsoever," O'Malley added.
Suspect caught on camera inside Bloomfield State Bank. If you recognize this person or have any information about this case contact the Greene County Sheriff's Department at 812-384-4411.
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