Updated: Thursday, 23 Sep 2010, 6:56 PM MDT
Published : Thursday, 23 Sep 2010, 5:57 PM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Albuquerque police said Thursday they're looking for a seemingly helpful con man who is targeting petite, elderly women who are alone.
"Oh, my God. How could I been so stupid," said an alleged victim who didn't want to be identified.
The 73-year-old woman said she was putting groceries in her car after shopping at Smith's at Coors Boulevard and Central Avenue NW on Sept. 7 when a man approached her and told her she had a flat tire.
She said he was charming, polite and seemed like he sincerely wanted to help. He told the woman he would change her tire and replace it with her spare one for $80. She agreed.
But then he offered to buy her a new tire at Discount Tires, not too far away. This time, she would need to fork up $130.
She said she went to the bank and withdrew $210 dollars, and met the man back at the grocery store.
He gave her the new tire and then said she should follow him to Discount Tires where they could put the tire on her car.
But then the man quickly took off. He had the victim's money, and it turns out that he'd given the woman a used tire that he'd cleaned to look brand new.
She told KRQE News 13 that she hopes police find the con man and that he "rots in jail."
"I never saw him since," she said.
Then about a week and a half later police said the same man targeted his second victim at the Giant gas station at Coors and Avalon Road NW.
This time, the man charmed an 86-year-old woman by pumping gas in her car after he told her she had a flat tire.
He then said he would put air in the tire and change it for her. He even offered her a ride to a nearby tire shop.
"So she gets in the car with him," said Albuquerque Police Department Officer Robert Gibbs.
He said the con man told the woman he needed $80 for the tire and ran into the shop while she waited in his SUV.
Then he returned to the car and said he needed another $20.
But police said he only pretended to buy a tire, and then he took the woman back to her car at the gas station before driving away with her money.
But this time surveillance cameras at the Giant gas station caught the man on tape. Police hope to catch him before he strikes again.
"So he's getting a little more brave," Gibbs said.
Police also got a similar report this month of a man slashing a woman's tires, then offering to change her tire for money at the Walmart on Coors Bypass NW at Ellison Road.
The woman who said she had been scammed at Smith's told police the victim looked Hispanic and drove a newer white SUV.
She said she also noticed something very distinct about him: he had very bad teeth.
"Well I said to myself, 'He took my money,'" she said.