Help catch him! ‘African missionary’ bilked NJ woman out of $9K, cops say
A man posing as an African missionary stole $9,000 from a 64-year-old woman in Cumberland County by convincing her that he was looking to donate a large sum of money to her church, police said Monday.
According to NJ State Police, the man approached the 64-year-old woman while she was at an Upper Deerfield Township supermarket. Police say the man, who was wearing a clerical collar, told the woman he travels to different places as an African missionary, donating money to churches.
"He told the victim that he wanted to donate $60,000 to her church, but he needed to first confirm that she could withdrawal a large sum of money from her bank account before he would deposit the money," police said in a statement.
Police said the man then accompanied the woman to a credit union in Bridgeton City and waited out of view of the bank's surveillance cameras as she withdrew $9,000. He then had her place the cash into a blue bank deposit bag. Without her knowledge, authorities say the suspect then managed to remove the cash from a hidden slit in the bag, and replace it with folded-up newspapers that were wrapped in a rubber band.
The woman then drove the suspect back to his car, which is described as a silver Audi that may have had Florida license plates, police said. It wasn't until after the suspect drove away that the woman looked in the bank deposit bag and noticed her money had been taken and replaced with newspaper, according to authorities.
Police managed to capture an image of the suspect from a surveillance camera. He is described as a black male, 6 feet and 2 inches and about 230 pounds. He black beard "speckled with grey" and was last seen wearing a a brown hat, black shirt with a clerical collar and brown pants. Authorities say the man spoke with an African accent.
State police are asking anyone with information on the suspect to call Trooper Paul Ciervo of the Bridgeton Station at 856-451-0101.
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.