An elderly woman was duped in a miracle healing scam in Chinatown, giving a bag of money and jewelry to three suspects who said her son was in danger, and getting a bag containing rice, water, and a newspaper in return, Boston police said in a statement.
The woman was walking on Harrison Avenue and Beach Street in Chinatown Sunday when she was approached by the three female suspects, police said.
One suspect asked the woman about a miracle healer. The woman said she knew nothing about the healer, police said.
A second suspect said she knew where the healer was and asked the woman to follow them, police said.
The woman refused — until the suspects started talking about spirits in her home and told her that her son was in danger, police said.
They told the woman to get all of her valuables and meet them near the Hei La Moon restaurant at 88 Beach St., police said. If she didn’t, something bad would happen to the woman’s son, the suspects told her.
The woman went home to get cash and jewelry and met the suspects at the specified location, police said.
The suspects handed the woman a plastic bag, which she filled with her valuables and passed back, police said.
The three suspects handed the woman a black plastic bag and told her to put it in a safe place and not open it for a month.
The woman opened the bag some time later and discovered a newspaper, some rice, and a bottle of water, police said. She then contacted Boston police.
The three suspects are described as Asian women: the first, about 40 years old, tan-colored skin, was wearing a black jacket; the second, about 50 years old, was wearing a black jacket; and the third, about 40 years old, had a chubby face, police said.
Officers are still investigating the incident and ask anyone with information to call Boston police at 617-343-4248.
The details of the alleged scam are similar to an incident that happened in Chinatown in April, according to Boston police.
In May, a woman told police that she was approached by three scam artists in Chinatown the month before and hypnotized without her permission before giving them all her valuables, including jewelry and $160,000 in cash.
The 57-year-old alleged victim, who spoke only Cantonese, said she was approached by three Asian women between 30 and 40 years old, who asked random questions about her family members.
The women handed the alleged victim a plastic bag, and she went home to gather her valuables, which she handed over to the women in the area of Boston Common near Province Street, Driscoll said.
Boston detectives had been in contact with San Francisco and New York City police about similar incidents in their cities.
Three women were arrested in May and charged with multiple counts of grand theft, extortion and elder financial abuse for scamming elderly Chinese women in San Francisco and other cities over a period of a few months, MillbraePatch reported.
The suspects were stopped while boarding a plane from San Francisco to Hong Kong and allegedly scammed people in Boston and New York City as well, police told MillbraePatch.Melissa Werthmann can be reached at email@example.com.