A 20-year old University of Illinois student was the latest victim of what police believe to be a series of scams involving an attempt to buy cheap cigarettes.
The student told police Monday that he was approached three weeks ago by a man who offered to get cigarettes at $8 a carton and the student gave him $24 for three, according to a Champaign police report. They went to an apartment at Sixth and Healey, but the man never returned, the student said.
The student encountered the same man in a campus restaurant again on Wednesday, and the man claimed he returned but the student was gone, the report said. The man told the student he could get the money back from another person, and took him to an apartment in the 500 block of East Clark Street. The man came back from the apartment and said he needed $17, because all the other person had was a $50 bill. The student gave the man $18.
The man told the student he needed $20 more to make the correct change, so the student withdrew $20 from his bank account and gave it to the man. The man then said the person who had the student's money was in jail and they could bail him out for $100. The student wrote a cheque for $40 and gave it to the man, according to the report.
The man again returned from the apartment, saying the bond had been raised to $200 and he needed $70 more. The student wrote another cheque for $70, cashed it and gave it to the man. The man said the other person had $300 in cash but needed $105 more, so the student wrote another cheque, cashed it and gave him $105, the report said.
The man asked if the student would like to make some money and the student agreed. The man and the student went to various stores, buying a radio and videocassette recorder and some groceries with cheques written by the student.
They then went to an apartment in north Champaign. The man told the student he would be right back with money for selling the radio and videocassette recorder, for more than the student had paid, but again he never returned.
The student waited a few hours and called police.
[News-Gazette, Champaign, Illinois]
The idiocy of certain members of the human race never fails to amaze. I know a guy, Kev, who staggered out of a casino in London, and was accosted by a stranger who offered to take him to a gambling joint, in exchange for a three-figure "deposit". [You can see where this is leading, can’t you?] He took Kev through a maze of side-streets, and left him standing before a door, saying he’d go get the security key. Guess whether stranger, or deposit, were ever seen again...