Two men and a woman from Tennessee were in custody today for allegedly swindling a pair of Torrance residents out of thousands of dollars in cash in a "pigeon drop" scam, police said.
William Young, 60, Jessie Craig, 50, and Mary Rucker, 49, were booked on suspicion of felony grand theft, said Torrance police Sgt. Robert Watt.
They allegedly scammed a 65-year-old man out of $2,300 on June 21, and a 73-year-old woman out of more than $20,000 in cash and jewelry on June 20, Watt said.
"The suspects would commonly befriend a stranger in a public place and advise them that they have located a pouch containing over $100,000 and that the money could be split if the person contacted agreed to pay taxes on the found cash," Watt said.
One suspect would claim to work for a bank and verify the find as legitimate, while the others would ask for "good faith" money to hold until the money could be split.
The trio may be responsible for similar crimes in the Southland, as well as Tennessee and Texas, Watt said. Anyone else who was conned or who has more information about them was urged to call Torrance detectives at (310) 618-5570.
Young was arrested Tuesday, and Craig and Rucker on June 24, according to sheriff's deputies. All three are scheduled to be in court Thursday.
--City News Service