, Salem, MA

May 22, 2013

Marblehead police: Scammer threatens murder

By Neil H. Dempsey
Staff Writer

---- — MARBLEHEAD — A Birch Street woman received a frightening scam phone call on Monday in which an unknown man said he’d kill her husband if she didn’t hand over $1,000, police say.

The woman went to the police station at about 4:30 p.m. to report the phone call, which she had received from a private number about a half-hour earlier, according to the incident log.

The man demanded $1,000 — and said he was holding the woman’s husband hostage and would “shoot him in the head” if he didn’t get the money.

“He stated that after she got in her car with the money, he would call her back with further instructions,” wrote police.

The woman contacted her husband, police wrote.

“She ended the call and spoke to her husband and he was fine, but the call startled her,” wrote police. “The caller never used her name or her husband’s name.”

The man called back later but the woman didn’t pick up.

An officer at the station “stated that it was a scam and he was familiar with the scam,” according to the log.

The incident bore similarities to a scam reported in Salem in February in which a man called an employee at the Department of Transitional Assistance and demanded $1,000 as compensation for an automobile accident he was in with her husband.

In that case, the man said he would hold the husband against his will until he got the money — but said nothing about murder. The woman told police she was confused because her husband had taken public transportation to work that day.