July 24, 2014

Elyria
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Extortion scam reaches from Connecticut to Lorain

LORAIN — In New Haven, Conn., a family was threatened with their lives. In Lorain, a man picked up the money they sent to keep their family safe.

Around 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, Lorain police investigated a call from the New Haven Police Department who said a family in the town had been threatened by an anonymous man.

The man told the family to send $900 to a Super Kmart at 5350 Leavitt Road in Lorain or he would harm them or their relatives, according to a police report.

An investigation led Lorain police to a video of a man entering the Super Kmart around 3 p.m. Wednesday where he picked up the $900 and left, according to the report.

Police have a suspect but have not arrested anyone, according to the report.

While this is a rare incident for Lorain, it mirrors a scam that recently swept across Connecticut and poses a threat to the country at large. According to a news release from the Milford, Conn., Police Department, anonymous phone callers have been threatening harm to family members of Connecticut residents unless they electronically wire money to the caller.

“It’s kind of an epidemic in our state,” New Haven police Sgt. Derek Gartner said of the reports.

Garter said he could not speak to a specific incident or say where the calls originated.

In February, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation to alert U.S. citizens to the scam.

Lorain police are investigating the incident and sent video surveillance of Wednesday’s suspect to the New Haven police.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.

  • Phil Blank

    Never happen to me!
    All relatives have already died.

  • oldruss

    The “man” picked-up the money at K-Mart on Wednesday, and as of Saturday morning, (the story has not been updated, so I must assume that there is no further news connected with this scam) no one has been arrested. If no one has been arrested, is the Connecticut family still being threatened? Are they being held by accomplices of this Lorain “man”? What connection is there between the thugs in New Haven and this “man” in Lorain? To whom here in Lorain was the money wired? (I am assuming that this was some kind of a Western Union wire transfer; the article is pretty sketchy on details.)

  • Sis Delish

    Is this part of the Affordable Care Act? Sure sounds like it… “Send us Money, or Else”!