13 InvestigatesScam Alert


'Gypsies' believed to have targeted elderly women in heartless scam

Posted at 11:28 PM, Nov 28, 2016
and last updated 2018-11-21 17:46:07-05
UPDATE: 13 Action News spoke to Crime and Safety expert retired Lt. Randy Sutton about this scam on Tuesday. 
Sutton said the scam isn't something new, but sounds to be the work of "Roma gangs" also known as "gypsies". 
"They are Roma gangs also known as gypsies that infiltrate an area and they're very devious," Sutton said. 
He said "gypsies" have targeted Las Vegas for years and are often made up of families working to gain money. 
"They are literally generations of scam artist that get taught and an early age how to separate marks from their money," Sutton said. 
Sutton suggests people never take offers from anyone they don't know. He also said if that doesn't work call for help or lock yourself in your car. 
13 Action News also reached out to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department who said they are looking into whether these types of crimes are on the rise across the valley.
LAS VEGAS (KTNV) -- Elderly women on the east side of the valley say they've fallen for a new scam. This time, the scam is in person and it's scary.
All the ladies we spoke with were between the ages of 79 and 91. They all go to the same hair salon on the east part of town. They all shop in the area too.
The women agree the scam starts out the same way. The women say they are just about to get out of their car when a couple of strangers flag them down to tell them something is wrong with their car tire.
In one instance, the stranger told Zee Hout he could fix her tire for $200. She agreed to it. But first, the man wanted to say a prayer, which Hout thought was strange.
"He sat there for a minute and he said can we say a little prayer? He said I'm a family man, I have two children, I would like to say grace and have God's blessing on the things we do," said Hout. "The next thing I knew he was tearing at the rings on my finger."
Hout was wear a new four carat ring from her husband. It was a gift for their 69th wedding anniversary.
"It was very tight so by the time he got through, my hand and all up my arm was black and blue where he was holding and trying to get it off."
All Hout could do was scream.
"I quickly put my purse behind me and I just started beating him in the face with the cell phone in my hand with the nails as far and as deep as I could...just gouge him in his eyes...I didn't care where I hit him...I was just hitting him as hard as I could."
Hout says the man hopped in his truck with the woman he was with and sped off.
"He jumped out of the car and ran over and jumped in the truck and was gone so fast."
Jane Akin says something similar happened to her but her incident wasn't violent.
It all started off the same way with the man telling her she had an issue with her car.
"He pulled up beside me and he said you've got something wrong with you're tire," said Akin.
After he completed his "work", the man charged her $300. She didn't have the money on her so the two strangers forced her to go to Money Tree and get the cash.
"I feel like I'm the dumbest person on earth."
Both Akin and Hout later realized, nothing was even wrong with their tires and it was all scam.
"Now that I think about it, he was loosening the nuts on the tire, not tightening them."
We are still waiting for police to get back to us about this but the ladies told 13 Action News that police told them these people are gypsies and they came to Las Vegas to wreak havoc on our community.
The ladies said they've heard about this happening to at least eight elderly women in the east part of town and they want everyone to beware so it doesn't happen to you.
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