The scam

A couple came to police the afternoon of Wednesday, March 16, to report having been scammed out of money. They told officers of a series of events which cost them just over $1 thousand, and nearly $2 thousand before they became aware of what was taking place. Late that morning, they told the officer, they got a phone call. The caller, from a +52 number, said he was their grandson, which they believed to be the case. The caller told them he (presumably their grandson) had gotten in some trouble in Mexico and his passport was seized. He needed, the caller told them, $1 thousand to get the passport back. Since he didn’t have ID they would have to send him the money using a wire-payment service.

The grandparents agreed and went to the service desk at a local department store to send the money. The total was $1,008 including the service fee. They told the officer the person processing their transfer was very helpful, and did warn them of the nature of scams used to gain money. Regardless, the couple told police, they sent the money as requested as they feared for their grandson. Shortly after the caller contacted them again, asking for the number for the transfer, which they provided. The caller then told them he needed an additional $918 to get the passport back.

The caller even addressed the woman was "grandmother" and asked about her eyes. Since that was the way her grandson addressed her, and as she had recently suffered some eye problems, this further reinforced the caller was their grandson, they told the officer.

They returned to the store and arranged to transfer the additional money. The caller was back on the phone asking for transfer information, and here, the officer was told, is where the couple became suspicious. They asked the man some questions and he began having hearing problems, further raising suspicion.

They cancelled the second transfer, and someone from, supposedly, the transfer agency called them asking about the transfer number, which they did not provide.

They then called where their grandson worked, a fast food restaurant in Russellville, and found out he had worked a shift earlier that day, leaving for school, hence was not in Mexico. The officer made copies of the receipts and records which went with the incident, and gave the couple their report number. They were going to provide this information to the state Attorney General, they couple told police.

The pain

Just after midnight, the morning of March 16, and police were called to a gas station just off Interstate 40. There they met with the caller, a woman. Her son, she said, had gotten mad because she would not let him use her cell phone. The man had been injured in a moped accident in Mountain View earlier that day and had been transferred to Little Rock. He had been released from the Little Rock hospital and they stopped in Conway to get him the medicine prescribed by the hospital, she told the officers, the report stated.

When they stopped her son got mad, she told the officer, likely due to his injuries. She went inside the gas station to get a drink and came outside to find the 26 year old man burning the side of his neck with a cigarette. At this point, she told officers, is when she called police. She was worried she couldn’t handle her son, especially since he "had mental health issues and was prone to violence," the report stated. She asked if police could have him screened for mental health issues.

The officers agreed and handcuffed the man, taking him into custody under Drunk, Insane or Disorderly. At the jail as they were processing paperwork, a jail officer told police they were going to release the man "although he had injuries of self harm," the report stated. (The reason for the release under these circumstances was not given in the report.)

The officers made arrangements for the man to spend the evening with friends, and gave him a ride to the friend’s home.

A carload

The evening of Tuesday, March 15, and an officer on patrol found himself following an SUV down a Conway street. The SUV swerved in its lane and the officer went blue lights and did a traffic stop.

The officer walked up to the car to speak with the driver and noticed straight away the smell of marijuana coming from the car. Other than the driver, next to her was a passenger, with a third passenger in the back seat. Children of the driver were also in the SUV.

The officer went back to his car to check the driver’s ID, and when he returned noticed the smell now included a perfume which had been sprayed in his absence. He asked the driver to step out of the car and speak with him, having her step to the back of the car.

He told the woman he had cause to search the car and she, the report stated, became irate due to her kids being in the car. By now a second officer had arrived, and the reporting officer had the woman stand with that officer while he got the others, including the children, from the car. He had the other female passenger help with the children, including getting shoes on one child.

With everyone out of the SUV the officer searched it, finding four marijuana cigars in a driver’s side ashtray. He showed them to the driver and told her there would be no arrest "at this time," the report stated.

Dispatch, meanwhile, called to report the man who’d been riding in the middle seat had warrants, and he was taken into custody, then jailed. The woman was issued a citation for driving left of center, and the marijuana was taken into evidence.