An 80-year-old Conway woman was scammed out of over $12,000 on Wednesday after being approached in a Walmart parking lot and led on a wild goose chase to several banks in Conway.
According to a police report, the woman was approached in the parking lot of Walmart at Dave Ward Drive by a black female claiming to have possession of a package that she wanted to return to the owner. The woman told the victim there was a name and address on the package and she needed the victim's help in trying to locate the owner.
The victim agreed to help the woman, who reportedly decided to call her "boss" to see if it would be OK to open the package. The victim told police the man on the other end of the line told the woman it would be agreeable to open the package as long as the victim was there to witness its contents, which turned out to be "a large sum" of cash and what the victim described as "child pornography."
The woman then reportedly called her "boss" back to verify the contents of the package and the man advised the woman to bring him the package.
When asked why she didn't contact police after discovering the money and child pornography, the woman said she "felt stupid" about the whole incident.
The victim said she then drove the woman to National Bank of Arkansas on Dave Ward Drive, where the woman claimed she and her boss were employed. The woman disappeared around the side of the building before returning to the victim, saying she had dropped the package off with her boss and he would call back with further instructions.
A short time later, the "boss" called back to notify the woman that the package contained $190,000, and if the pair cooperated with him, they could both have half of the money.
The man then reportedly instructed the women to withdraw money from other banks "in order to get the serial numbers off of the cash" to trade the bills out. The victim said she agreed to the money laundering idea and drove the woman to banks "all around town."
The victim said she and the woman attempted to get cash advances at several locations before heading to Centennial Bank of Dave Ward Drive, where the victim had an account. The victim told police she withdrew $12,156.93 in cash by explaining to the teller that she had a "family emergency," as the boss had reportedly instructed her to say.
The victim then gave the money to the woman, who told her that she was "insured," and that if anything happened to the money, "everything would be OK."
The pair then drove to other banking locations and obtained more cash advances.
Once the victim and the woman parted ways, the victim was advised the "boss" would then meet her at her home and named the location of her address, though the victim said she had not given the information to the either party.
The victim said when the man never came to her home, she drove to National Bank of Arkansas, where bank personnel reportedly explained to the woman she had been scammed.
Officials are attempting to obtain surveillance video from banks in hopes of identifying the woman, who the victim described only as slender and dark-skinned, with straight, shoulder-length hair. The woman was reportedly wearing a sweater and a skirt.
The investigation is active and ongoing.