A Wilmington Police Officer’s hard work has paid off, literally, after a scam ring in New Jersey was broken up. In March, 2017 the Wilmington Police Department was contacted by an elderly victim regarding a telephone scam. Four days prior the victim received a call from an unknown phone number and the caller advised him that his grandson was in jail in California. The caller provided enough personal details for the victim to believe this to be true. In order to help his grandson, the victim was directed to purchase four $1,000 Target gift cards and then call back with the information. In total, the victim was taken for $8,000 before realizing that this was a scam and reporting it to police. Unfortunately, no identifiable phone numbers could be obtained from the scammer. In April of 2017, Wilmington Police Detective Jurgens spoke with Target Loss Prevention in Bradley, Illinois. With their assistance, Detective Jurgens was connected to Target‘s Law Enforcement Assistance Team in Minnesota. Information regarding every transaction made with the gift cards purchased by the victim, along with photos of suspects involved, was provided to to the Wilmington Police Department. It was found that multiple transactions occurred at Target locations in Michigan, Ohio, and New Jersey.
Detective Jurgens used that information to send out broadcasts over law enforcement databases requesting assistance in identifying possible offenders involved. Two days later, Detective Jurgens received a call from investigators with the Middlesex County DA‘s Office in New Jersey. Investigators had advised that they had a suspect matching one of those from Detective Jurgens‘ bulletin stopped outside of a Target in South Plainfield, NJ with about a 1,000 gift cards in his car. Detective Jurgens coordinated with investigators in New Jersey. Eight Indian nationals were identified as part of the same scam ring that took advantage of the victim in Wilmington and a large amount of money was also seized in the process. Detective Jurgens remained in contact with the victim during the court process in New Jersey between 2017 and 2019 and provided periodic assistance to the victim in filling out victim–related documents. Detective Jurgens hard work paid off, because in October of 2019 the victim received a check from the Superior Court of Middlesex County for restitution of his financial losses