Charlatan accused of snagging jewelry and cash on Marco Island

Reporter: Asha Patel Writer: WINK News Digital
Published: Updated:

Authorities are searching for a man they say posed as a minister to get a victim to turn over her jewelry.

Marco Island Police said a man asked the victim if she was religious before stealing two rings and cash.

The suspect used the power of prayer to pull a fast one on a woman in the Publix parking lot, according to Marco Island Police.

The suspect was involved in the grand theft of the victim’s jewelry. It happened in the parking lot of Publix at 175 South Barfield Drive.

“It’s been very hard to not know when somebody’s trying to scam you or not,” Anna Efthimiou, a monthly Marco Island visitor, said.

Shoppers were left stunned by what happened on Tuesday. The suspect, seen on security cameras, kneeling next to her window, asking a simple question before allegedly taking the money and jewelry.

(CREDIT: Marco Island Police Department)

The suspect pulled a sock out with jewelry already inside and told the woman to put two rings and some money inside. Then tied the sock into a knot before placing it in the center console of her car. He told the victim to put the sock under her pillow, and all her prayers will be answered.

“I would just shoo him away. I would not open my window, probably start the car like I was gonna drive off, and just not even entertain him,” Efthimiou said.

Police explained the charlatan drove off in his van. And when the victim got home, she discovered her rings and money were not in the sock.

“These people have to be very aware of their surroundings and whos approaching them,” Captain Richard Stoltenbord said.

Marco Island Police has two words for people while they are out and about, be vigilant.

“They’re experts. They know who they’re gonna pick on, you know they can select a target just watching the parking lot and say this woman, this person is distracted,” Captain Stoltenbord said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Marco Island Police Department at 239-389-5050.

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