Greenville police are working to identify a man they said stole nearly $3,000 in cash from a woman while posing as an undercover cop working to crack down on local gang-related crime.
Police said the unknown man knocked on the door of at 72-year-old woman's Calhoun Street home on Sept. 20 about 5 p.m. and claimed to be an undercover officer looking for a man and woman he had warrants for.
The woman told police the suspect asked if the couple lived at the home, but she said no because she had lived there for several decades. According to police, the man had a lanyard with what looked like a badge around his neck.
According to the police report, the man said gang members had been renting rooms, using her address, and were going to withdraw $4,000 from her bank account using a fake check.
The woman told the man how much money she had in her bank account and he told her if she withdrew most of the money from her two accounts, the gang members would not be able to steal her money because he alleged they had her account info, according to the report.
At one point in their conversation, the man mentioned a woman the victim knew, but did not say how he knew her, police said.
The man told the woman they needed to go withdraw the money, so she got in his car and they went to the BB&T Bank branch on Academy Street, police said.
FOX Carolina spoke with the victim, Shirley Rice, who said the man looked at his watch and said, "We only have 15 minutes to get to the bank."
The man instructed the woman to have the teller fill out the slip and give her large bills, the report stated. When they got back into his car, he told the woman to put the cash envelope inside a larger envelope and seal it, police said.
As they drove back towards her home, the woman said the man tried to switch out the envelope with her, hiding the one with the cash inside behind his back, police said.
"He reached over and opened the door to push me out but I had my seatbelt on so he couldn't push me out," Rice said. "He reached behind and pulled his hand back and said 'If you don't get out I will stab you.'"
When she got out his car, she picked up an envelope he had thrown out of the window, walked home and called police, the report said.
The woman told police she had believed he was an officer and he repeatedly told her that gangs were targeting the elderly.
And now Rice is left without her savings and said she is having trouble paying her bills, even buying food. She said she wanted to share her story so the man would be caught and to warn others.
"I am sharing my story with elderly people to be careful about opening the door and letting people into your home," Rice said.
Police said they have surveillance photos from the bank and hope someone can identify the man. The report described the man as in his late 40s, about 5'7" tall, and weighed about 170 to 180 pounds.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 864-23-CRIME.
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