Thursday, February 21, 2013
Con Artists At The Post Office [Updated]
"I went to the Uptown Post Office today at 11:45 to mail a package, and there was a thin, middle-aged, well-dressed African-American man (probably 5’11”) in front of me when I was coming to the exit door on Broadway.
He went to exit in front of me, and then (I realize now) pretended to get his left hand stuck in the door handle in front of me. He acted like he couldn’t get his hand freed, and then asked me for 'a little assistance.' I hesitated, not understanding (and not wanting to touch a stranger), and he asked me to pull up on his arm so that he could free his hand. He said it was stuck because of his large watch.
Well, during this commotion, you guessed it: a person behind me must have lifted my wallet out of my purse. I realized my wallet was missing from my purse within half an hour and immediately filed a police report and cancelled all credit cards, but it’s still a loss. The thieves charged $2500 at the nearby Broadway Target within 20 minutes.
This man was working with the person behind me (who I did not see), who must have taken my wallet. But another interesting item to note: I SUSPECT that a post office employee is also in on it.
The female postal worker who assisted me loudly remarked, “That’s a nice purse!” when I was all done with my transaction with her, and I can’t help but wonder if she wasn’t tipping off her sidekicks that I had a wallet worth stealing, and that my purse was open at the top. I will also mention that my purse is a very basic black purse, nothing fancy, so I don’t often hear people say things like “that’s a nice purse” very often about it.
I told all of this to the police officer that took my report, and he said based on the info, the postal worker could be in on it. He said especially since she announced it at the end of the transaction, and not the entire time she was assisting me with mailing a package, buying stamps, etc.
I’m hoping you can push this info out to UU readers (especially women) to avoid someone having the same experience as me."
So watch out for this confidence game and its players. We also advised the reader to contact Ald. Osterman's office about the crime, as well as to file a report with the USPS district manager about her suspicions about the postal worker. We'd hate for it to be true, but better to be safe than sorry.
Update: The woman who was pickpocketed went back to the Post Office with her husband tonight and spoke to the branch manager. The branch manager is going to put in a request with the central Chicago post office for videotape of the lobby. Thanks to the magic of receipts and debit cards, the exact two minutes following the window transaction were able to be specified and (hopefully) will be reviewed.
"Then my husband and I went to Target, and I gave them the half hour window that the 2 credit card charges took place (both from the same card, one for approx $600 and one for approx $1800). The head security guard, who seemed pretty competent, took down my credit card number (I had it memorized), and said he would pull video later in his shift and burn it for the police. He said he can’t give me the video, but he can give it to an assigned detective. I asked him to at least call me to let me know that he had useable video (I have more faith in a company like Target to track down reliable video than the post office).
So now my next goal is to make sure a detective actually gets assigned from CPD. I will follow up constantly to be sure this happens.
Thank you for getting the word out! I do appreciate it, because hopefully others can avoid this kind of hassle."