According to Oneida County Sheriff, Robert Maciol; On February 8, 2023, at about 5:00 PM, a deputy responded to the City of Rome for a suspicious activity complaint.

Upon arrival, Deputy Hagerty spoke with the complainant, who advised he felt he had fallen victim to a scam. The complainant advised that while at Walmart in the City of Rome, he had been approached by a male driving a white SUV, who told him he needed help getting his family back to Florida after losing his wallet. The complainant reported that he was shown the family that was sitting inside the male’s vehicle. He advised that there was a female and 4 children inside the car. He also stated the children ranged in age from 7 to an infant. The complainant provided a description of the male as middle aged, medium build, with black hair and facial hair. The complainant also reported that the male had a middle eastern accent.

After a brief exchange, the male offered several pieces of gold jewelry, as collateral, in exchange for cash, which he said he would repay upon arrival back in Florida. It was accepted and the complainant gave the man approximately $1,300.

After an investigation into the matter, it was discovered that the male and his family have been conducting this scam across the County. Each time, the man offers gold jewelry in exchange for cash. According to reports from other areas, the couple will provide a story about needing the money for the family.

A review of security footage from Walmart shows the couple in a white Ford Explorer having an exchange with the complainant in the parking lot and then leaving after the money was exchanged. It is unknown if the couple is still in the area.

Attached photos are actual photos from the surveillance camera at Walmart and of the jewelry exchanged.

Please be aware of this scam and never offer money in exchange for items under these types of circumstances.