Scam victim receives briefcase, bomb threat in Fairborn

An older woman in Fairborn wrote checks in hopes of winning a sweepstakes jackpot, but instead she received a briefcase and a threat that it would blow up if more money wasn’t sent.

The Greene County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate after the Bell Drive resident called 9-1-1 Saturday after receiving the briefcase through FedEx, according to Sheriff Gene Fischer.

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The scam that targeted the senior citizen “took a left turn for some reason,” Fischer said.

“The persons involved in this actually sent a briefcase to the house and demanded more money,” he said.

The scammer told the victim the money was inside the briefcase, but in order to get it she would have to send more money. If she didn’t, they could remotely activate the briefcase to blow up, destroying all the money.

Fischer said the woman’s granddaughter became aware of what was happening and told her it was a scam and to not send anymore money.

“She had actually written another check. She stopped payment on that check then called us on Saturday,” he said. “Lots of times the scam artists will target our senior citizens. In this case, some checks were written. Some checks were cashed. A family member came to the rescue and got her to stop.”

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A similar incident was reported in July 2016 in Bella Vista, Ark.

A man walked into the local police department there carrying a briefcase and told an officer that it might contain a bomb, according to an article published by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. The incident led to the police department being evacuated and a bomb squad responding to the scene. The briefcase was X-rayed and discovered to be harmless; when it was pried open, it contained a stack of newspapers, on top of which was an issue of the Jewish Journal of South Florida, according to the Gazette.

The Dayton Bomb Squad and Fairborn firefighters responded to the address on Saturday and part of the neighborhood was evacuated. Fischer said the bomb squad used an X-ray device to safely peer inside the briefcase.

The specific contents of the briefcase were not disclosed, but Fischer said there were items that made it appear there was an explosive device.

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Greene County detectives have “some out-of-state spots to check” and will be attempting to follow the trail of checks that were cashed. Fischer said these scams often involve hidden addresses and transient criminals who move frequently.

“It’s hard to make an arrest on something like this,” he said. “Know there are people out there with bad intentions. They just want to take your money.”

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