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HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) – Desperate and up to no good describes the man caught on a wireless doorbell camera in Hollywood.
A package was delivered to that residence but little does that homeowner know that its part of a kidnapping scam.
“We have your grandson and we are holding him for ransom,” said Hollywood Police officer Christian Lata, describing the scam call. “You need to give us x-amount of money, or else.”
The recipient of that phone call was a grandfather in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
Panicked, he sent the cash via UPS to the address given to him in Hollywood.
Upon the package’s arrival, the homeowner grew suspicious, having not ordered anything to be delivered.
That suspicion grew when a man showed up, pounding on his door.
“And when he told me he was supposed to receive the package and it was supposed to be delivered to his cousin next door, that did it,” said the homeowner, who’s identity is being protected. “I know everybody in the neighborhood and I never seen you before and I was calling the cops.”
During that exchange, the homeowner said he received a call from someone named ‘Ralph’ who was identifying himself as a dispatcher from UPS.
‘Ralph’ told the homeowner that there was a mistake in the delivery and to give the package to the man at his door.
The homeowner called UPS dispatch and they checked the number ‘Ralph’ called from and confirmed that it was not a UPS phone number.
The video from the wireless doorbell camera comes just as the Hollywood Police are encouraging citizens to sign up for an app called Neighbors.
The app alerts neighborhood citizens to crime and can quickly transmit video to the police. It works with any wireless security camera.
You can send the video of the suspect to the police department right away, instantly, in real time,” explained Officer Lata. “That way the police department not only has an image of the suspect, they know where the crime occurred. It knows where to direct the officers.”
The man never received the package.
The police have good pictures of the subject but don’t know if the scam is based in South Florida, or if the guy is just an errant boy.
“Right now the money is with the police, [to be] mailed back to the grandfather in Wisconsin” said the homeowner. “I am happy I did the right thing.”