Con artists who are posing as police officers investigating con artists have tricked several elderly Washington residents out of money and jewelry in recent weeks.
This latest scheme preys on the older person's faith in the authority of the police.
The scam usually involves two men and a woman who play interchangeable roles, depending on the target.
One man has been arrested in one of five cases reported within the last 10 days.
The suspect, 37-year-old LeRoy Robinson, 102 57th St. SE, was charged with larceny by trick. Police said he took more than $500 worth of silver dollars from an 81-year-old widow in Northeast.
A woman telephoned the widow and told her a police detective would visit her to talk about a fraud case he was investigating.
Police said Robinson showed up a short time later, held a police walkie-talkie in one hand and flashed a police badge. He then warned the woman about con artists and urged her to have any any valuables she owned inventoried by the police.
Robinson, police said, took the woman's silver dollars, saying he would return them after making a record of them at police headquarters.
Police were tipped to the scheme after the woman's nephew later visited her, became suspicious and reported the incident.
Robinson was arrested and later released on bond pending a trial.
The other phony police scams have cost a 79-year-old Northwest Washington woman a $2,000 ring, a 90-year-old Southeast widow $1,100 in cash, a Northwest widow five pieces of jewelry worth $1,200, and an 89-year-old Northeast man $130 in cash.
The con artists either offer to record valuables or mark them with ultra-violet dusting powder to make them easily identifiable in case they are stolen.
Fraud detectives said the recent mild weather has extended the usual season for con artists in this area.
The detectives said most scams are run by groups of persons who travel a circuit from the southern states, usually from Florida in the spring, north to New York and back down the coast inthe fall.