Suspect befriends man with autism in Montgomery County, swindles $600 from him

- A suspect is wanted after police said he befriended a man with autism and swindled $600 from him in Montgomery County.

The 22-year-old victim’s mother told FOX 5 her son is always trying to make friends and thinks the suspect targeted her son at the shopping center he works at that day on Aug. 11.

"They were absolutely targeting him because of his autism and his IQ and the resulting desire to try to get along and be friends," Ruby Potts told FOX 5. "They absolutely saw him as an easy mark and I'm sure as things pan out we’ll find out they have done it before or done it in the past."

Authorities said the suspect convinced the victim that he needed to cash a check but didn’t have a bank account and that he needed to use his. The victim then gave the suspect his bank account information and the man took his ATM card, police stated.

Surveillance video shows the suspect walking into the Navy Federal Credit Union located at 12244 Rockville Pike in Rockville and depositing a fake check written to the victim for more than $2,000.

The suspect then walked outside and withdrew $600 from the ATM.

"You can see that this person has absolutely no fear because they think that they are preying on someone who doesn't have a voice, but in my son’s case he does have a voice and if my voice can help other people who have been victims in a similar way I hope that it does,” Potts said.

Potts said the suspect along with other men then drove her son to a bank in Accokeek, Maryland and attempted to run the scam again, but security picked up on the scheme and alerted authorities before they could get any more money. She said the suspects then drove off and left her son at the bank.

Potts said the bank has yet to refund her son’s money. When FOX 5 reached out to Navy Federal Credit Union, they released the following statement:

“Keeping our members’ information and accounts secure is a top priority for us. For that reason, we don’t discuss individual member accounts. In this case, as with any case of fraud, we work closely with the member to resolve the issue.”

If you have any information that could help detectives identify the suspect, you were urged to call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County at 1-866-411-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous and could be eligible for a cash reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and/or indictment of the suspect.

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