University Housing issued a security alert to all students regarding a deceptive crime scheme in the area. A black woman who appears to be in her 50s or 60s, or a black man, also apparently in his 50s or 60s, has approached intended victims on the street saying he or she has a large amount of cash that he or she wishes to donate to a church or send back to family in Africa. The second offender appears to the victim to be unrelated to the first. The victims are persuaded, as a gesture of "good faith," to give some of their own cash "temporarily" to the offenders. The victims are driven to banks to get cash. The offenders then take the money and flee the scene. The car used has been describe as a 1990-95 dark green 4-door Ford Taurus. According to the South East Chicago Commission (SECC), four related incidents have been reported. Two occurred on March 15, one at 2:30 p.m. on the 5600 block of South Woodlawn Avenue, and the other on the 5400 block of South Woodlawn at 2:45 p.m. A similar incident was reported on March 28 at 6:45 p.m. on the 5700 block of South Kenwood. The most recent case was reported this past Saturday, March 30 at 8:30 p.m. at 104 South Michigan Avenue.
The SECC in conjunction with University Housing warns members of the University community not to enter into financial transactions with strangers on the street. "No one is giving money away," says an SECC crime pattern report. "If approached by individuals perpetrating these scams commonly referred to as 'pigeon drops,' walk away and notify the police immediately."