BOWIE, MD (WUSA9) - A new scam where con artists target drivers on major highways and ramps claiming they’re out of gas and stranded have been happening all over the state, Maryland State Police said.
In the last three months, police said they’ve received 50 calls about this or similar criminal activity.
"I was trying to get on Route 50 and a guy waved me down and I stopped trying to be a Good Samaritan,” said one victim, Kyle Welchner. “He claimed he was out of gas and he offered me the ‘gold necklace’ he was wearing because he had no cash on him."
Welchner's story is similar to so many others. Lt. Eric Corbin is with the Maryland State Police and said these con artists are trying to appeal to people’s emotions, make them feel sorry for them and that they need assistance.
“They're taking advantage of people's generosity,” Corbin said. “We want to make people are aware so they don't fall prey to this type behavior."
Most of the incidents are happening in Prince George's County but there have also been some incidents as far away as Fredrick.
The scam artists work during the day and often have children with them, police said.
"That's crazy. It seems like we are not safe anywhere now,” one driver said. “You can't even pull over to help anyone because people are using you left and right."
It appears investigators are getting closer to closing in on the ring of con artists.
On Wednesday, 32-year-old Alexandru Dumitru was arrested for running the scam in Bowie.
"I hope other people don't fall for it and something needs to be done to stop this type of thing," Welchner said.
If you see these scam artists, call the Maryland State Police.