Police officials in Queens are warning residents to be on the lookout for several teams of women who have conned victims out of more than $100,000 through a “Cursed Jewelry” scam.
In each scam, two women approach another woman on the street and convince the victim to follow them to a nearby restaurant, police said. Once inside the restaurant, the con artists question the victim to determine if she has any jewelry stored in a safe deposit box – and convince the victim to remove the jewelry from the box, place it in a bag and take it to another location where the con artists would “bless” the baubles, police said.
When the victim arrives at the new location, the suspects take the bag to a back room to perform the blessing, police said. The suspects return with the jewelry and tell the victim to not open the bag for 15 days – or face a run of bad luck, police said
When the victim opens the bag – one, two, or 15 days later, the jewelry is gone, replaced by dried flowers, police said.
The last reported incident in Queens occurred on April 6, when the suspects approached a woman outside 35-22 Linden Pl., on the Sunnyside/Woodside border, police said.
Police are urging victims of the scam to call 911 for assistance or file a complaint at their local precinct.
Anyone with information on the suspects is urged to call the Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.
Bank Bandit Busted
Queens detectives last week nabbed a gunman who held up three Eastern Queens banks over a three-day period in April – while selling marijuana on the side.
Cops said John Lopez, 24, struck first on April 23 in an unsuccessful robbery at a Bank of America branch on Main Street in Flushing.
Lopez walked into the bank at about noon on April 23 and handed a note to a teller demanding cash, police said.
He fled the bank empty handed, when the teller walked away from her station, police said.
Lopez’ robberies turned threatening three days later, when he walked into a Chase Bank branch on Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills, police said.
When he walked up to a teller at about 1:30 p.m. on April 26, Lopez flashed a gun and demanded cash, police said.
The terrified teller handed over approximately $700 and Logan fled the bank in an unknown direction.
Lopez struck again on April 26 at about 2:15 p.m. when he flashed the weapon at a teller at a Capital One Bank branch in Bellerose, and made off with $1,300 in cash.
No injuries were reported in the robberies.
NYPD officials and the FBI released a photo of Lopez after the two April 26 heists, asking for help from the public to locate and identify him.
Lopez’ robbery spree came to a screaming halt on May 4 when police arrested him for peddling marijuana, police officials said.
Lopez, a convicted felon on parole, was being processed at a local precinct on May 4 for the marijuana charge when an informant recognized him from the photo and called the Crime Stoppers Hotline, police said.
The caller gave cops Lopez’ name and the information became immediately available to detectives who were processing Lopez, officials said.
Lopez, who has a long criminal history that includes arrests for statutory rape, assault and graffiti offenses, was turned over to the FBI, police officials said.
He is facing a slew of federal charges including three counts of first-degree robbery.
A 22-year-old restaurant worker at the Terrace On The Park catering hall managed to escape serious injury recently when his legs became trapped in an elevator shaft.
Police sources said the man’s legs somehow became trapped between the elevator car and a shaft wall on the second floor of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park catering hall.
The man called for help and other workers dialed 911, police sources said. Firefighters who responded to the scene worked for more than an hour to free the man’s legs, the sources said.
The man was taken to New York Hospital Queens where doctors found that he escaped serious injury, the sources said. He was treated for minor cuts and bruises and released a short while later.
Sources said the operators of Terrace On The Park are trying to determine why the worker was in the elevator – and how his legs became trapped in the shaft.