Irvine police today were investigating a brief kidnapping by suspects who posed as law enforcement officers and tried to coerce a man into buying a prepaid debit card to repay back taxes they said he owed to the federal government, police said.
The scam began on Thursday around 8 a.m., when someone called the victim and told him he owed back taxes to the U.S. Attorney General's office, said Irvine police Lt. Dave Klug.
The victim was instructed to go to a local store and purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak card in the amount of the taxes owed and when the man refused, the caller said he would be arrested, Klug said.
"A short time later, a black Ford Crown Victoria pulled up to the victim's residence (in the 1000 block of Wycliffe)," Klug said, explaining that the vehicle, which had dark tinted windows, resembled a police vehicle.
Two suspects got out of the car, approached the victim, who was standing in front of his home, and identified themselves as law enforcement officials, Klug said.
They placed the man in the back seat of the Ford and told him that if he did not buy the card, he would be arrested. They released the victim at that point so he could go to the store to make the purchase, Klug said.
He made the purchase, turned the card over to the suspects and later contacted police, Klug said, adding that the card's value was being withheld.
Both suspects were described as Middle Eastern. One was 45-50 years old, 6 feet 2 inches tall with a medium build, dark complexion, black curly hair, and a mustache. The other was described as 50 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a medium build and short brown but graying hair. Both men were wearing black suits, white shirts and black ties.
Anyone who may have been victimized by the suspects or has information that could help investigators identify them was urged to contact Irvine police Detective John Sanders at (949) 724-7244 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
-City News Service