DRACUT – Three Dracut police officers and a dispatcher at the Regional Emergency Communications Center are heroes to a grandmother in Florida whose $25,000 life savings they kept from the hands of a scam artist.
The actions of Sgt. Lawrence Flynn, Lt. Wilmer Buote, Detective Megan Farley and Dispatcher Andrew Talmacci came to light when Dracut Police Chief Peter Bartlett proudly read a recent email to selectmen during his recent monthly report to the board.
The email came from the grandmother’s daughter and extended her family’s “sincere appreciation for the support they gave us in a time of great stress and need for kindness.”
Bartlett explained that on April 3, a woman, whom he identified as Sophia Fisher but without giving her location, called Dracut and Miami police when she suspected her elderly mother had fallen victim to a scam and had sent $25,000 in cash to an address in Dracut.
The daughter told police that her mother had received a call claiming that her grandson was arrested and in police custody and $25,000 in cash needed to be sent to a supposed lawyer for him to be released.
The package sent to Dracut containing the cash had not yet been delivered, she told police.
With this information “all the officers went into action and intercepted the delivery before it happened,” Bartlett said.
The incident remains under investigation, but the grandmother in Florida is getting her money back.
Selectman Joe DiRocco, who also held a copy of the email in his hand, said “This stuff is like gold, especially now.”
“The ability to recover funds for the victim of a scam is an incredibly rare occurrence,” Bartlett said in a subsequent statement.
“I am very proud of these officers and Dispatcher Talmacci for their dedication and thorough work, which resulted in the recovery of a large sum of funds for a well-meaning person who had unfortunately been targeted by someone with ill intentions,” he said.
“I’d also like to credit the victim’s daughter for her attentiveness and for contacting police as soon as she learned of the possible scam. We are thankful that an oftentimes irreversible situation ended positively.”
For tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of a similar scam, Chief Bartlett recommended reviewing information from the Federal Trade Commission at this link: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0204-family-emergency-scams