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Posted: 4/1/2006 10:58:56 AM EDT
April 01. 2006 6:59AM

No joke: Oven door passed off as flat-screen TV in scam
Police say thefts of appliance parts increasing.


ALICIA GALLEGOS
Tribune Staff Writer

SOUTH BEND -- It isn't a crime police have seen many times before.

An unsuspecting woman purchased a "flat-screen television set" at a bargain price, the package even bubble-wrapped and complete with cord and controller.

But when the street consumer returned home that February day with her "steal" of a product, she was likely steamed.


"It was actually an oven door inside the package," explained South Bend Detective Sgt. Jim Walsh.

Police on Thursday arrested a suspect they believe sold the appliance piece to the woman. Walsh says recent thefts of oven doors from vacant properties may be linked to the scam.

The 42-year-old theft victim was reportedly approached by the 43-year-old suspect Feb. 20 at her job in the 1600 block of South Michigan Street. The asking price for the bogus TV screen was $500, but when the victim couldn't come up with the money, the suspect settled for $300.

The oven door was wrapped in plastic to look like a flat screen, had Wal-Mart store labels, and included a generic remote control.

"It's an elaborate job of packaging," Walsh said.

The suspect's goose was cooked on Thursday after the victim's husband spotted a vehicle and recognized it as the phony salesman's. When police officers arrested the man, they also found an oven door and packaging materials inside his trunk, according to reports.

Despite the bizarre fraud, police say oven doors are an increasingly hot item in area burglaries.

Just this week two reports of stolen oven doors made their way to South Bend Police.

The first happened Saturday at a home in the 400 block of North Arthur Street when a back door was kicked in and two suspects were seen exiting the residence carrying an oven door, according to reports.

The second occurred Monday at a home in the 900 block of South Twyckenham Drive, where a back door was forced open and the oven door removed from its frame.

Walsh said police have had a total of about five recent burglaries where oven doors were among the items stolen.

"It was mostly at (vacant) rental homes," Walsh explained. "Some might not be discovered for a couple weeks."

Police have had only a couple reports of the doors being sold as flat-screen televisions, but it's likely others went unreported, the detective said.

Police continue to investigate at least two other suspects who may be disguising oven doors and selling them.

Walsh warns residents not to buy products off the street or if they do, open packages first to make sure the items are what they appear to be.

www.southbendtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006604010304
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 11:05:57 AM EDT
reminds me of the wet block of wood fake VCR scams from the early 80's
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 11:07:09 AM EDT
It wasn't my fault, I tell ya'. It was my old lady that made the purchase.
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 11:11:08 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 11:16:37 AM EDT
That is funny.
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 11:20:48 AM EDT
Sort of like the old "$2000 speakers sold for $50 from the back of a van" scam.
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 11:27:16 AM EDT

Originally Posted By XJ:
Despite the bizarre fraud, police say oven doors are an increasingly hot item in area burglaries.



WTF? Did they ever stop to think that perhaps the stealing of oven doors and the selling of oven doors as TVs might be somehow connected?
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 11:31:59 AM EDT
Suckers are a planet-wide phenomenon...


news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4289753.stm


Students in stew over potato scam

Students are being tricked out of hundreds of pounds by conmen supposedly selling laptops which turn out to be very expensive potatoes.

Police said two men have been targeting universities and colleges in Southwark, south London.

They tell students they need a quick sale of an electrical item, usually a computer, because of cash problems.

They are shown a pc in a car boot, then a laptop case containing a bag of potatoes, is exchanged for up to £200.

Det Supt Jane Corrigan said: "If it sounds too good to be true, then it generally is.

"You could be spending hundreds of pounds for a laptop case with very expensive potatoes inside."
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 11:43:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Greywolf2112:
Sort of like the old "$2000 speakers sold for $50 from the back of a van" scam.



It's not a scam, it (was) a hustle. And $50? They cost me more than that wholesale.
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 11:43:59 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Greywolf2112:
Sort of like the old "$2000 speakers sold for $50 from the back of a van" scam.



That is exactly what I was thinking. I had a guy try to pull that on me once.
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 12:51:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Greywolf2112:
Sort of like the old "$2000 speakers sold for $50 from the back of a van" scam.



Just yesterday I ran a couple of those fucktards off when they approached me in the Home Depot parking lot. I asked them if the cops knew what they were doing and they hauled ass. Those speakers always have the price printed on the outside of the box (as if!!) so when the guy says he'll take a mere $300 it looks like a deal. If anybody ever paid more than about $20 a pair for the junk, they got ripped off (even wholesale). In fact, even $20 is theft IMHO.

Link Posted: 4/2/2006 1:14:34 AM EDT
My friend bought a switchblade off of some street hustler in Times Square back in the 80's. When my friend opened up the paper bag it was a 3 Musketeers bar.

That was an expensive candy bar.
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