Scammer Hauls: Skippack Cash, Pennsburg Car, Cooking Oil

SKIPPACK PA – Some are big cash thefts, like one now being examined in Skippack Township. Some surprise by their sophistication, like a car’s disappearance in Pennsburg. Others, of high importance to their victims, seem small only by comparison; cooking oil stolen in Trappe, for example. All are among new and increasingly inventive scammer crimes that continue to occur locally.

And all are currently being investigated by Pennsylvania State Police at the Troop K Barracks in Skippack.

Huge cash haul in Skippack

The elderly in many instances are the prey du jour of scammers.

Troopers report an 87-year-old Skippack resident has been conned in a theft by deception. In a scam reported during mid-April (2022), the victim was convinced by unknown individuals to write three separate bank checks, valued at $50,000 each, and deliver them as requested. The specifics of the scam aren’t stated in the report, but troopers acknowledge the perpetrators successfully “deprived” the victim of $150,000 in total.

Investigators in this case are challenged by elapsed time. The incident, according to their report, initially occurred in late February.

A Corolla goes missing in Pennsburg

Big businesses are not immune to scams.

Troopers report the global Copart Inc. auto auction firm was the March victim of an unidentified “actor using a fake Copart account, fake identification, a fraudulent license, and several out-of-state addresses” to buy a 2021-model white-colored Toyota Corolla over the Internet from its facility at 2704 Geryville Pike, Pennsburg.

On March 3, two days after the illicit transaction was completed, a tow truck operator arrived “with proper paperwork and removed the vehicle for delivery to the purchaser,” troopers wrote in their latest report on the incident. Copart’s corporate office in Dallas TX reported the fraud-induced theft on March 15.

Apparently the scammer made a clean get-away, maybe in the Corolla itself. There’s no indication from state police that either has been located since.

A slippery scam in Trappe

In mid-April, an West Main Street restaurant in Trappe had $600 worth of cooking oil stolen in what troopers reported as a scam. Specifics were unavailable, but state police said the crime involved a Ford F-350 pick-up truck, presumably used to take the goods away.

All-too-common identity thefts

With an increase in computer hacks and similar crimes, in which information from centralized databases on thousands of area residents is sold or distributed, local identity theft cases continue at an alarming rate. Cited recently by troopers:

  • Two credit accounts were opened March 27 by an unknown actor in the name of a 33-year-old Peevy Road, East Greenville, woman. Fortunately, she found the accounts and notified state police before trouble occurred, and “did not lose any money as a result of the incident,” they reported;
  • An unemployment check arrived in the early April mail for a 47-year-old Brighton Road, Perkiomen Township man. The problem? The victim was gainfully employed, but the check was sent based on a scammers’ fictional report that claimed he was out of work;
  • Same scenario, different case, according to troopers, that involved “unsolicited unemployment benefits” directed April 8 to a Laurel Drive, Trappe, address. It too is labeled as an identity theft case and an attempted theft by deception; and
  • A still-being-sought perpetrator in April used identity information, stolen from a 58-year-old Norristown woman, to fraudulently open a Chase bank account involving an address on Quarry Hall Road in Worcester Township. It’s unknown if any money or other valuables were stolen.

In these cases and others, troopers are asking for public help in trying to identify the criminals involved and bring them to justice. Anyone with information on any of these incidents is asked to call the Troop K Barracks at 610-584-1250.

Graphics from the Pennsylvania State Police