Victims warn of ‘tow truck’ scam artist making the rounds

Man claims to need money urgently, but his story is full of holes, say residents

At least three Langley residents believe they have been the victim of a scam artist.

And now they are warning others about a man who is reportedly deceiving people out of their hard-earned money, with a phony claim about a tow truck.

Maureen (who asked that her last name not be used) said she was inside her Langley City home when a man came to her door, claiming he had been in an accident and needed a tow truck.

“He was jumping all over the place. He just wasn’t right,” said Maureen, who told him she had no money.

The man claimed to be from the area and was working with her neighbour, “John.” Maureen said she doesn’t have a neighbour named John.

“I didn’t believe him for a second,” she said.

The man then opened her closed screen door and came into her home.

“Which took me totally off guard, because I thought I had it locked,” she said.

Maureen said she gave the man $40 from her wallet and told him to take it and leave her alone.

“With that, he did. Thank God,” she said.

Maureen said she then immediately called the police, who told her they would look for the man fitting her description.

“He was about 5”10, balding on top, brown shoulder-length hair, blue jeans, blue plaid work shirt… clean shaven.”

Maureen said she had heard of two other recent instances of Langley residents having encounters with a man asking for money, with a story about a car crash and a tow truck.

A similar incident reportedly took place the same week in Langley City, according to a couple, who asked to remain anonymous, for fear of reprisal.

A man came to their townhouse door and first asked to use their phone, but then said he needed cash to have his car unhitched from a tow truck.

The man opened their door and walked in, uninvited, when the homeowner was in the kitchen looking for cash.

When the homeowner’s wife walked in, the man looked her in the eye and said: “Hey, I know you. I’m the electrician.”

In retrospect, the woman believes he said this because he saw an electrician’s van parked nearby.

“We have a neighbour who is an electrician; We know him very well. I knew it wasn’t him.”

But she believes his claim of familiarity was a bluff to put her “off balance.”

“It’s really amazing: You don’t want to look stupid and say, ‘I don’t know you’ and the guy doesn’t ask for enough money to raise your red flag,” she said, referring to the fact the man asked for exactly $38.50.

“It really sounded legitimate,” she said.

It wasn’t until after the man left with $40 in hand, that the two started to suspect they’d been had.

The homeowners’ descriptions of the man are somewhat similar, but the couple says the man who walked away with her money had black hair and a short “scruffy” beard.

The couple reported the incident to police but believe it will be unlikely the man will be found.

Cpl. Holly Largy, from Langley RCMP said it is difficult to investigate these types of incidents, when descriptions are vague or inconsistent. She said her detachment has received three recent reports of instances where people have believed a man had made fraudulent claims about needing money for a tow truck.

Largy said it is hard to even know if an offence had taken place or if these were just isolated incidents, where the person asking for money was being honest.

Largy suggested Langley residents in similar situations tell the person asking for money to call a friend.

“I don’t want to discourage people from being a friendly neighbour and whatnot, but people don’t generally come to your house asking for money.”