Officials say beware of con artists in area

Published 6:00 am Monday, February 2, 2004

Authorities are reminding residents to be cautious following theappearance of possible con artists in Brookhaven Friday.

“Ever so often they drift into Brookhaven. They’re always fromout of town,” said Brookhaven Police Chief Pap Henderson.

The most recent appearance was an older white male and a youngblack female apparently trying to run a “pigeon drop” scam in theWal-Mart parking lot.

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According to Sylvia Huhn, her 91-year-old father-in-law, J.K.Huhn, almost became a victim while going shopping Friday.

He was first approached by a “respectable-looking” white male ina brown suit with a tie in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

“The man said he owned the Rite Aid drug store, and needed aride over there,” said Sylvia Huhn, relaying her father-in-law’sstory.

As the two men stood talking in the parking lot, a black femaleappearing to be in her 20s walked up and joined the conversation.She had a bag full of money, and said it was $300,000 she had justwon in a settlement.

“She wanted to put it in the bank, but she didn’t know if shecould get it back out,” said Sylvia Huhn.

The white male suggested that Mr. Huhn show the female how thebank system works by cashing a check so she could see that peopledo get their money back, Sylvia Huhn explained.

The three traveled in Mr. Huhn’s vehicle to the TrustmarkNational Bank on Brookway Boulevard, said Sylvia Huhn.

Mr. Huhn did not have a check, so the alleged con artistssuggested he withdraw money using his driver’s license in thedrive-thru, she said.

The bank would not allow it, and the female said she wanted somecoffee. The male told her she could get some at his office atRite-Aid, according to Mr. Huhn.

They parked at the nearby store, and the con artists went intothe store. Mr. Huhn decided to use the store’s restroom and when hecame back out the couple had disappeared.

Realizing what had happened he contacted authorities, whichHenderson says should be a first step when approached by suspiciouspeople.

“Unfortunately, they (con artists) always pick on older people,and most of the time by the time we get the call, they’re gone,”said Henderson.

He suggested that all citizens be alert at all times and contactauthorities immediately about any suspicious activity orperson.

“The citizens need to stop and think that something is wrong andthey need to call the police department,” he said.

Suspicious activity in the city can be reported by calling theBrookhaven Police Department at 833-2424, or the Lincoln CountySheriff’s Department at 833-5231 for suspicious activity in thecounty.