Police hunt two men after pensioner fleeced of $1700 in fortune teller scam
Police are searching for two men purporting to be fortune tellers in the CBD, after a man with a cognitive impairment was duped into handing over $1700 in cash.
The 33-year-old victim was on Little Bourke St when he was approached by a man who allegedly performed a magic trick and told him he had “good fortune” on April 23 about 5.45pm.
Police allege the man then duped the victim into handing over a small amount of cash before being pressured to withdraw money from a nearby ATM.
A second man joined the pair and performed the same magic trick, before allegedly coercing the victim to withdraw more cash, police said.
The victim made several withdrawals from the ATM totalling $1700, which was his entire pension and rent money.
Melbourne Crime Investigation Unit Detective Senior Constable Jerome Bain-King described the act as “grubby behaviour” and urged the culprits to hand themselves into police.
“It’s put a huge financial strain on the victim,” DSC Bain-King said.
“We want to knock this on the head as soon as possible given that these two offenders appear to be targeting vulnerable people and taking their money that they so much need in this current climate that we live in.”
“My message would be to the offenders: hand yourselves in before we come and knock on your door.”
DSC Bain-King said it was believed similar deceptions had occurred before, whereby the two men were tricking victims into believing they were fortune tellers.
He said the pair appeared to operate by carrying black wallets, which contained “little pieces of yellow paper” that they would write messages on before they “scrunch it up, and then hand it to the victim”.
Melbourne Crime Investigation Unit detectives are investigating and have released images and CCTV of two men they believe can assist their enquires.
The first man is perceived to be of sub-continental appearance, about 50 to 60 years old, with a medium build and about 182cm tall. He is described as having black short straight hair and was clean shaven apart from a moustache. He was wearing black pants and a sports jacket.
The second man is perceived to be of sub-continental appearance, about 30 to 40 years old, with a medium build and similar in height to the first man. He had black straight hair tied into a ponytail with a black moustache and beard. He was also wearing smart casual clothing including black vest, white shirt, and black slacks.
“They’re very well practiced, they do their best to avoid cameras, [and] they communicate with each other at a distance,” Senior Constable Bain-King said.
“It’s absolutely disgusting behaviour, and my concern is that there will be other people that have been targeted.”