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‘Broke’ scam artist cons Saddle Brook church member out of $200

Photo Credit: Courtesy SADDLE BROOK PD
Photo Credit: Courtesy SADDLE BROOK PD

YOU SAW IT HERE FIRST: A conniver conned a caring member of a Saddle Brook church out of $200 by claiming to have serious financial trouble, said police who hope surveillance video will produce an arrest.

The member of St. Philip the Apostle RC Church on Saddle River Road got a call from someone on Sunday claiming to be a friend who knew the parish priest, Police Chief Robert Kugler told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this afternoon.

“The caller said he was having financial problems and needed money,” Kugler said. “After some discussion, and the victim believing the caller was in fact the person known to him, the victim said he would help.”

A baptism was going on at the church at the time, so the victim arranged to have the caller come by, the chief said.

Time passed before another call in which the caller said he couldn’t make it but was sending his nephew.

IMAGES: Courtesy SADDLE BROOK PD

An hour later, the man captured on surveillance video outside the church rectory showed up.

He left after collecting the cash, Kugler said.

Becoming suspicious, the church member contacted the man he thought he’d originally talked to and discovered that he’d been taken, the chief said.

Kugler described the suspected scammer as black, heavyset and about 50-55 years old.

He asked that anyone with information that could help catch call his department: (201) 843-7000 .

“These scams happen every day, and they come in all varieties,” Kugler said. “But to scam a church member, and come in to the church to do it, is a new low.”

The irony, the chief said, is that the victim “probably have helped him if he just told the truth and said he needed money.”

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