A Manteca man was scammed out of $100 after stopping on a freeway onramp for a motorist, that was waving his arms for help.
David Twomey was driving eastbound on the Highway 120 Bypass onramp from Union Road about 4:30 p.m. Sunday when he spotted a man standing next to his late model SUV attempting to wave him and other motorists over to the shoulder of the road. Twomey thought there might be a medical problem.
The well-dressed motorist walked over to the passenger side of Twomey’s car and spoke to him and his wife saying his wallet had been stolen and he had no money to feed his children. He offered them what appeared to be a man’s gold ring that he took off his finger and held it up for them to see. He said it was worth thousands adding that his family was very wealthy.
The couple first offered him $20 and he said that the ring was worth much more than that and he couldn’t let it go for that little. Twomey, who is accustomed to helping motorists and other truckers on the road, took out his wallet and offered the man a $100 bill – which he accepted taking the ring off his finger. Twomey said he bought the ring more to help the children who were going without dinner than anything else.
He said the rear windows of the car were tinted and he couldn’t see if there were actually children in the back seat of his SUV.
The Manteca trucker and family man took the ring to the Tracy Gold Exchange and found that business already had some 30 similar rings that customers had taken into the shop for an analysis explaining that the ring was worthless and probably part of an established scam.
He then visited New York Diamonds in Manteca’s Walmart Shopping Center and was told the same thing about the value of the ring and advised of its copper, nickel and iron content. The inside of the band was stamped “18K” recognizing its lack of gold content.
New York Diamonds’ staffers told of the 30 rings that they had analyzed that their customers had brought to them over the last two months in a similar scam operation in addition to bracelets, chains and necklaces. Twomey said he called Manteca Police and was told it wasn’t a crime and that he would have to take civil action in the incident to attempt to recover his money.
New York Diamonds employees said they were told by customers that many of the incidents involved a white van with children seen inside and a woman wearing gold bracelets, necklaces and rings – and could be recognized by the gold seen in the dental work on her front teeth.
The Woodland Police Department near Sacramento had reports of a fake jewelry scam around their area in mid-February also involving supposed 18 K gold jewelry. Police there said they had been alerted by local businesses reporting people attempting to sell the jewelry for cash or in trade for gasoline.
The sellers in Woodland reportedly told prospective buyers that they had come from Canada but had been seen in brand new SUVs with California, Colorado or Florida license plates and were well-dressed in expensive looking clothes.
Most of the Sacramento area transactions occurred in gas stations, with police noting that all the jewelry was found to be fake.
Anyone with information on the jewelry scams are urged to call Sgt. Mike Aguilar at the Manteca Police Department at 209-456-8101.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email email@example.com.