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Police Recover $187,000 in Property Scam

NORWOOD, Ohio (Angenette Levy) -- Scam artists dupe a Norwood man into helping them execute a Nigerian scam.

But that man's involvement tips police to what was happening and leads to the recovery of tens of thousands of dollars in stolen merchandise.  Angenette Levy joins us with more on the scam and what police recovered.

Police in Norwood found out about the scam when companies contacted wondering why they were shipping goods for major universities to a man's home in Norwood.  Police recovered 187,000 dollars worth of things like children's vitamins, medical devices and GPS equipment.

The purchase order from the University of California, Davis to a company looks legitimate.  It's for a ventilator and stand totaling more than 27,000 dollars.  Even the email that came with the order looks real until you look closely at the email address.  It ends with dot com instead of dot edu.  A big red flag.

Norwood police say scam artists posed as school staff using phony email addresses.

The companies never received payment for the supplies.  Boxes were shipped to an address on Melrose Ave. in Norwood.  The man accepted the packages as a favor for an attractive blonde named Tina Smith who seduced him on Facebook, writing in broken English.

The man was accepting the orders and forwarding them from Norwood to Miami, Florida.  It's believed the packages were flown then to Nigeria.  Eight companies were duped, the scam artists also posed as staff from the University of Pennsylvania.  Both schools have warnings about the scam on their websites.

There's still about 100,000 dollars worth of merchandise police are trying to recover.  Police are advising businesses to be careful when filling orders and carefully scrutinize email addresses to ensure they're legit. 

Police say the local man who was pulled into the scam is cooperating with the investigation.  It's not clear whether he'll be charged with a crime.

VIDEO here



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