for immediate release
July 2, 2002

N E W S   R E L E A S E

The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office is investigating a "Pigeon Drop" scam in which a Fort Walton Beach woman lost more than $15,000 cash.

The 78-year old victim reports she was approached by a black female about 1:30 this afternoon (Tuesday afternoon) at her car in the Wal-Mart parking lot on North Beal Parkway, Fort Walton Beach. The stranger told the woman she had just found an envelope on the ground, containing a large amount of cash. The suspect made a cellular telephone call, then told the victim her attorney friend would arrange for the two "finders" to keep the $100,000 in the package, but they would have to pay taxes up front.

The suspect rode with the victim to two banks: Compass Bank in Cinco Bayou, then the Eglin Federal Credit Union branch near Santa Rosa Mall, where the victim made large withdrawals and handed the cash to the suspect. The suspect asked the victim to wait while she took the cash and walked to the another nearby bank, but never returned.

The suspect is described as a black female in her 30's, about five-foot-two, of medium build. She is described as medium complexion, with wavy hair not quite of shoulder length. She was wearing a short sleeve black dress slightly longer than knee-length, and black sandals, and carried a large black purse. She was well-spoken, with a soft voice.

Anybody with information about this scam artist should contact the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office at (850) 651-7400 or Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers at 863-TIPS (850-863-8477).-30-

for more information contact Rick Hord, Public Information Officer

(850) 651-7420