A “gold bar” the size of a small chocolate bar and supposedly valued at $14,000 took a trio of shoppers to the cleaners at a Manteca shopping center over the weekend.
It was a profit and loss trip for a Stockton family as they shopped in the aisles of a Manteca department store Friday afternoon – a $7,000 loss for the family and an equally-sizeable profit for two scam artists. It apparently appeared to be a “50 percent off” opportunity for the family.
Police said a 52-year-old Stockton woman and her sons – 25 and 13 years old – were approached in the store aisles by two women in their mid-30s. One appeared frantic and claimed her husband was in the hospital after being seriously injured in a traffic accident. She showed them what she said was a gold bar she had recently purchased, wanting to sell it to get him out of the hospital.
The Stockton trio left for their bank, saying they would return shortly with the money to buy the bar from the pair. Police explained that both the woman victim and her son took cash from their accounts before returning to JC Penney’s to clinch the deal.
Officers said the family questioned the sellers about the “gold” bar, wanting proof that it was, in fact, the real thing. The woman reportedly said she had proof and left the store momentarily to secure a sales receipt that she presented as proof to certify that she had allegedly paid $14,000 to purchase the bar.
The two women quickly left the store with the cash and haven’t been seen since, police said. However police are reviewing video security surveillance tapes from in-store cameras in an effort to identify the suspects.
Officer Randy Chiek took the bar to New York Diamonds jewelry store and asked that they determine the content with their state of the art digital assay equipment. It was made up of iron, zinc and copper it was determined.