JEFFERSON PARISH, La. A 58-year-old man is wanted by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office and Harahan Police for bilking four men out of thousands of dollars, running what police called a 'drop the pigeon' theft scheme.
In four separate incidents, according to the sheriff's office, Clent Smith convinced the men to withdraw several thousands from the bank and hand over the cash.
On Jan. 6 and 7, an 80-year-old Bridge City man fell victim to a scheme, when he was convinced to withdraw $50,000 from the Chase Bank on Manhattan Boulevard after being shown a bundle of cash by two men. One of the men told the 80-year-old he inherited $1 million in a settlement, said the sheriff's office.
'When he (the 80-year-old Bridge City man) returned back to where the suspects were waiting, a conversation along the lines of trust ensued between he and the suspects. The victim, in an effort to show he trusted them, allowed both suspects to drive his vehicle with the money in it around the building. After not returning with his vehicle or the money, the victim called 911 to report the incident,' said Col. John Fortunato, a spokesman for the JPSO.
On Jan 9, a 75-year-old man in Harahan fell victim to a similar scheme. He was approached by a man with a thick African accent, said the sheriff's office. Told that he would get $50,000 from a settlement if could produce cash in a 'good faith exchange,' the Harahan man withdrew $14,000 from the bank and met two men at a donut shop, according to the JPSO.
'He gave the first suspect his money, at which time the suspect told the victim his $50,000 was wrapped in a blue towel and had been placed in the glove compartment of his vehicle. He also told the victim him to go home and not to drive around with all that money in his vehicle. The victim did as he was instructed and upon arriving home he opened the glove box only to find shredded paper inside of the towel,' said Fortunato.
On Jan. 14, a 53-year-old Harvey man turned over $5,000 to two men in similar circumstances who fled after getting the cash, said the sheriff's office. In Feb. 2013, 66-year-old Gretna man also gave up $5,000 to two men in same type of scam.
Using video footage, investigators indentified Smith as one of the suspects. According to the sheriff's office, Smith is 5-feet-11 with brown hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Stanly Brown at 504-364-5300, Sgt. Nicholas Gleber at 504-737-4800 or Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111.