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Posted March 31, 2009 | comments Leave a comment

Police warn motorists of 'mechanic' scam

WINCHESTER - Winchester police are investigating two incidents of fraud in which a stranger has approached motorists and offered to help fix their vehicles for a fee.

According to a press release issued this morning:

"On March 27, 2009, an elderly female pulled her vehicle over in the 800 block of Berryville Avenue after a vehicle behind her kept honking its horn. A male exited the vehicle and approached the female. He told her there was something wrong with her car and it was unsafe to drive. The male stated that he was a mechanic and could fix her vehicle for $100. The victim gave him $100. He then went under her vehicle for a few minutes, told her the vehicle was fixed, and left with her money. The victim then realized that she had likely been a victim of fraud.

"On March 30, 2009, an elderly female was approached while shopping in the 2300 block of S. Pleasant Valley Road by a male who stated that he noticed when she had pulled into the parking lot that her vehicle was in need of repair. He told the victim he fixed vehicles and could take care of it for her. He asked the female to drive him to an auto parts store to purchase the part, so he could fix her vehicle. The female drove him to the store and gave him $70 to fix her vehicle. After bending down by the vehicle for a few seconds, he got back into the vehicle and told her the vehicle was fixed. She then drove him back to the parking lot where she had been shopping. Once there, the male immediately exited and began running. The female then contacted police. "

Police report neither victim saw anything wrong with their vehicles prior to these incidents. Their vehicles were not damaged as a result of the encounter.

The suspect is described as a black male in his 40s, 5'7" with a heavy build.

"The Winchester Police Department wants to remind its citizens that it is an unsafe practice to allow a stranger inside of your vehicle. Also, do not pull your vehicle over for anyone other than emergency vehicles. If you need work done on your vehicle, take it to a licensed mechanic," the release warns.

If you have information on these incidents, call Winchester police at (540) 545-4704 or Crime Solvers at 540-665-TIPS .

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