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Homeowner intercepts scammer's package with thousands of dollars inside

Elderly woman told her grandson needed bail money

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando police have released a surveillance image of a woman wanted in connection to possible scams against the elderly.

An Orlando homeowner said an envelope filled with cash was mailed to his house this week. He said he called the woman who sent the package, and she identified herself as an 88-year-old woman in Iowa. The woman said she thought she was sending the money to a bail bondsman in Florida to help her grandson get out of jail.

"An envelope from a bank that was clearly full of cash that we never opened, but we were later told by the victim that it had a large sum of money on it," said homeowner Billy Wieland. "She thought this was bond money for her grandson who was in jail -- not in Florida, but in another state -- but the public defender told her to send it to our address."

Wieland said the envelope contained $3,500.

Orlando police said on Friday that there have been several similar cases in the Lake Como area this week. The surveillance image released shows a woman that investigators said was seen in the area at the time.

"You've got a picture of them, but hopefully the cops can then connect the dots and eventually find out who these people are that are taking advantage of the elderly," said Wieland.

Wieland said the 88-year-old woman in Iowa who sent the package described being frightened for her grandson's safety.

"She just got very worked up that her grandson was in jail, and about that point on, she didn't really listen other than, 'What can I do to get him out of jail?'" Wieland said.

Wieland also said he spoke to one of the alleged scammers on the phone, but said the man on the phone changed his story several times.

Anyone who recognizes the woman in the images is asked to Crimeline at 800-423-8477 or Orlando police.


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