An elderly woman gave a bag filled with her money and jewelry to three other women who said her son was in danger, said Boston police, who described it as a miracle healing scam in Chinatown.
The alleged victim was walking on Harrison Avenue and Beach Street Sunday when she was approached by the three women, police said.
One asked the alleged victim where she could find a miracle healer, because she needed one for her ailing daughter. The woman said she knew nothing about the healer, police said.
A second woman said she knew where the healer was and asked the alleged victim to follow them, police said.
The woman refused, until the trio started talking about spirits in her home and told her that her son was in danger, according to police.
They told the alleged victim to collect all of her valuables and meet them near the Hei La Moon restaurant at 88 Beach St., police said. If she did not, something bad would happen to the woman’s son, the three women told her.
The elderly woman went home to get cash and jewelry and met the trio at the specified location. The three women then handed the elderly woman a plastic bag, which she filled with her valuables and returned, according to police.
The three women handed the elderly woman a different black plastic bag and told her to put it in a safe place and not to open it for a month. The elderly woman opened the bag some time later and discovered a newspaper, rice, and a bottle of water, police said. She then contacted Boston police.
The three women are described as Asian women: the first, about 40 years old with tan-colored skin and wearing a black jacket; the second, about 50, was wearing a black jacket; and the third, about 40, had a chubby face, police said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Boston police at 617-343-4248.
The details of the alleged scam are similar to an episode that occurred in Chinatown in April, Boston police said.
In May, a woman told police that she was approached by three scam artists in Chinatown the month before and hypnotized without her permission before giving them all her valuables, including jewelry and $160,000 in cash.
The 57-year-old alleged victim, who spoke only Cantonese, said she was approached by three Asian women between 30 and 40 years old, who asked random questions about her family members.
The women handed the alleged victim a plastic bag, and she went home to gather her valuables, which she handed over to the women in the area of Boston Common near Province Street, Driscoll said.
Boston detectives have been in contact with San Francisco and New York City police about similar episodes in their cities.
Three women were arrested by San Francisco police in May and charged with multiple counts, including grand theft and extortion for scamming elderly Chinese women, the Associated Press reported.
San Francisco police said thieves struck again over Labor Day weekend. Two women in their 60s were told they and their valuables needed to be purified because they had stepped in blood and were being overtaken by evil spirits, the Associated Press reported.
San Francisco police said scammers have made off with almost $2 million in the scam, the Associated Press reported.
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