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News Release

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Media Relations

Detectives Urge Victims of Elder Abuse to Come Forward NR15096ml

West Valley: Los Angeles Police Department detectives are asking for victims of Elder Abuse to come forward.

On March 10, 2015, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Cerritos Station issued a press release regarding the arrest of two women responsible for what is commonly known as a "Pigeon Drop" scam.

In a Pigeon Drop ruse, two strangers tell a third party they've found a large sum of money or other valuables. They say they'll split their good fortune with the victim if everyone involved puts up "good faith" money. When the victim provides the money, the culprits leave and are never heard from again.

The two women, Margaret Souza, 48, and Teneca Wilson, 31, met an 83-year-old woman in a Cerritos bank parking lot and asked her to withdraw money from her bank account.

At first the woman believed Souza and Wilson's ruse and agreed to make the withdrawal. The woman, when asked by the bank teller for the reason for the withdrawal, told her what was occurring and the teller became suspicious and called the Sheriff's Department. Souza and Wilson were arrested and the woman's money was recovered.

Based on evidence gathered, detectives believed there might be additional elderly victims and the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department issued a press release for both the public and surrounding law enforcement agencies.

Los Angeles Police Department detectives assigned to the West Valley Robbery Unit saw the news story and immediately thought of a kidnap/robbery case they were investigating.

Knowing the two suspects were scheduled to be in court on Monday, March 23, 2015 for the Cerritos crime, Los Angeles Police Department detectives arrested Margaret Souza and Teneca Wilson outside Norwalk Superior Court on Monday, March 23, 2015.

Their bail is set at $1,075,000 each.

LAPD detectives believe there are additional victims and are seeking the public's help in identifying them. Detectives would also like to educate the public about this kind of scam and alert them on the vulnerability of elderly citizens.

Anyone with information is urged to call Los Angeles Police Department West Valley Detective Angeles at (818) 374-7746, or Commercial Crimes Division Detective Bopp at (213) 486-6962. After hours, please contact West Valley Division at (818) 374-7611, or 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S) on most keypads with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters "LAPD." Tipsters may also go to www.lapdonline.org, and click on "Anonymous Web Tips."


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