[VCR] Parking infraction leads to motor-mouth laptop con
Parking infraction leads to motor-mouth con
Globe and Mail
July 3, 2007
VANCOUVER -- A routine parking violation has unearthed one of the most bizarre scams that the North Vancouver RCMP has seen - cardboard boxes stuffed with newspaper flyers being sold as cut-rate computer laptops.
Last week, an RCMP officer noticed a white 2007 Mitsubishi Galant car parked in a bus zone and approached the driver. Then, the officer noticed several cardboard boxes in the back of the automobile - and that is when the 27-year-old male driver blurted out that he had been ripping off greedy members of the public by pretending that the boxes were laptop computers from Future Shop.
The scam was laughably simple - the cardboard boxes were stuffed with newspaper flyers and taped shut. But it had flourishes such as plastic shopping bags from Future Shop, operating system CDs and photocopied flyers for a Sony laptop.
But the scammer was depending on the greed of his marks overwhelming their common sense. "The guy was quite forthcoming: 'People think I'm just a stupid guy and they're going to take advantage of me, and that I'm going to sell a $2,000 computer for a couple of hundred dollars,' " said Constable Michael McLaughlin of the North Vancouver RCMP. "You'd be amazed at what people will say, and won't say, when they're talking to the police."
The latest wrinkle on the fell-off-the-truck con is a new one for police, but the basics remain the same: greedy members of the public being taken in by an offer that seems too good to be true - and in fact is.
"This sort of back-door transaction is as old as cars," Constable McLaughlin said. "The man, who told police he lives in Toronto, was detained for a few hours, but released without being charged. However, the impromptu confession did not include any details on how many people the man had scammed, so police were not able to pursue charges - simply having misleadingly labelled cardboard boxes not being a crime."
He also had four cubic zirconia, which police said thieves often use to switch for genuine diamonds in a jewellery store. However, the man did not confess to that scam, Constable McLaughlin said.
Constable McLaughlin said police will field any complaints from members of the public who crossed paths with the scammer, but he warned that prosecution in such cases is difficult and rare. At a minimum, he said, a complainant would need to have someone else who had witnessed the fraudulent transaction.
Anyone stupid and ethically deficient enough to buy a $200 laptop deserves what they get. How that moron legally got hold of a 2007 Galant is beyond me. I guess crime does pay.
Batman: "Better put 5 cents in the meter."
Robin: "No policeman's going to give the Batmobile a ticket."
Batman: "This money goes to building better roads. We all must do our part."