Louise Naef said the man who conned her out of $1800 convinced her he was the son of a friend from Calgary.
Naef told a Thursday (April 18) Langley RCMP news conference that the man approached her as she was leaving a grocery store.
“Oh, I’m waiting for you,” he said.
The man told her he had a greeting for her from a friend outside B.C.
“Guess who it is?” he said.
She could only think of one person, who lived in Calgary.
“Yes, in Calgary,” the man said when she asked.
Then she told him the name of her friend and the man said that was the person.
In fact, he was her friend’s son, he said, and he needed a little help.
“He told me had problems on the Coquihalla and the car needed repairs,” Naef recalled.
The man said he needed $1800, and said his mother would repay her.
In fact, he said. his mom would be in Langley the next day and would have the money.
“He was very friendly to me,” Naef recalled.
So Naef went to her bank branch and withdrew the cash.
When her friend from Calgary failed to show up the next day, she realized she’d been had.
At first, she was angry at herself.
Then she became determined to make sure other people wouldn’t have the same experience.
The 92-year-old grandmother has enough financial resources that the loss of $1800 won’t ruin her, she said.
“It doesn’t harm me.”
But other seniors might not be as well-off, and she wants them to beware of friendly strangers claiming to be relatives.
Langley RCMP have issued an arrest warrant for Richard Earl Rupert, a man whose habit of conning elderly people has earned him multiple convictions and the attention of police across the country as well as stories by two television programs, the W-5 newsmagazine and America’s Most Wanted.
“We don’t think very highly of him,” said Langley RCMP Supt. Derek Cooke.
Cooke estimates Rupert is a suspect in dozens, possibly hundreds of instances where elderly people have been tricked out of their money.
Many of the cons took place in Eastern Canada, where Rupert is wanted on multiple warrants.
“I think it’s very possible he’s still in the [Langley] area,” Cooke said.
“There may be other victims out there.”
RCMP have released an image of the suspect taken by a security video camera at the Langley bank where Naef withdrew her money.
Rupert is described as a 57-year-old white male, 5’5- 5’6 tall, 140 – 160 pounds, with hazel eyes, short receding greying, dirty blonde hair, a pockmarked face with a reddish complexion.
He is wanted by a long list of police agencies, including the Hamilton Police Service, Peele Regional Police Service, Ottawa Police Service, Durham Regional Police, Niagara Regional Police, London Police Service, Waterloo Regional Police Service, Toronto Police Service, Medicine Hat Police, Vancouver Police Department, New Westminster Police Service, Ridge Meadows RCMP and the Victoria Police Service.
The alleged offences include theft, robbery, break and enter, fraud, impersonation, being unlawfully in a dwelling house and attempted fraud.
According to America’s Most Wanted, police say Rupert frequents bingo halls and stays in motels, bed and breakfasts, or hostels, always paying with cash.
Anyone who has any information on his whereabouts is asked to contact the Langley RCMP at 604-532-3200.
Or, to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or online at http://www.bccrimestoppers.com.