A man and woman were accused of using an elaborate lottery scheme to scam a woman who only speaks Spanish out of $8,000 in Ventura, and police were searching for the suspected thieves Friday after they were caught on surveillance footage.
On Wednesday, the victim was in the Downtown Ventura area when she was approached by a 33-year-old woman.
The suspect told the victim, a 59-year-old woman, that she needed help getting an identification card so she could cash in a winning ticket. The suspect, who spoke in Spanish to the victim, told the woman it was worth $460,000.
A man who pretended to be just passing by became involved in the conversation. He took the ticket and pretended to call and verify that the ticket was real.
As a part of the ruse, the man said if the women wanted to avoid additional taxes on the grand prize, the winner would have to bring $37,000 to the lottery office.
The man in his 60s said he would provide half of the money if the victim agreed to do the same.
The 33-year-old female involved in the scam told the victim she would give her an extra $5,000 if she agreed.
The three got into the victim's car and drove a few blocks to a bank, where the man said he would withdraw the money. He came back with a large amount of cash and showed it to the victim.
She then drove to a Von's at 115 W. Main Street and took out $8,000 in cash from the bank inside.
She handed the cash over to the man.
The female suspect began to fake an illness and asked if the victim could go into the Von's to buy a remedy. As soon as the victim walked inside, the man and woman took off with her money.
Surveillance footage captured the man and woman at a nearby Burger King after the scam, and released it to the public hoping to catch the two.
The female suspect was described as Hispanic, with dark hair, wearing a white baseball cap, light-colored long sleeve shirt and carrying a black purse.
The man was described as Hispanic, in his 60s, wearing a dark colored hat, light colored long sleeve shirt and dark pants. Both suspects spoke Spanish.
Anyone who can identify the suspects captured on the surveillance footage is encouraged to call the Ventura Police Department at 339-4488. A cash reward of $1,000 was offered to anyone providing information that leads to an arrest in the crime.
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