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77-Year-Old Woman Helps Police Thwart Couple's Alleged 'Pigeon Drop' Scam

LEONIA, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Police say two con artists met their match in a 77-year-old woman who didn't fall for their scam. In fact, she helped police nab the couple and prevented another elderly woman from being victimized.

The woman, who didn't want her name used, and who goes out for daily walks, was approached Monday by two people, police said, who had sized her up as an easy mark, or a pigeon.

Police said the man tried what's called the "pigeon drop," showing a bank bag that appears to be full of money, saying he'd just found it.

"He acted surprised that he found the bag and said that needed a witness and tried to get her to … said he was gonna give her some money," Leonia Police Sgt. Scott Tamagny said.

The scam was to get her to go to a nearby bank, withdraw money and then switch bags with one filled with mostly paper, CBS 2's Slattery reported.

"While he was talking to her, his accomplice, another female, approached and they tried to get her to go to a bank to withdraw money for them," Sgt. Tamagny said.

But instead, the woman walked to the police station and described the suspects and their car.  They were located a short time later with another elderly target at a PNC Bank, police said.

Police arrested 59-year-old Norman Gladney and 54-year-old Cheryl Lewis, both of the Bronx. They were said to have a rap sheet dating back to the 1970s.

"The record was one of the longest printouts I've ever seen," Sgt. Tamagny said.

Police said after they've finished prosecuting Gladney, Lake County, Indiana wants extradition so he can be prosecuted for the same alleged offense.

Gladney also faces several drug charges after police allegedly found him in illegal possession of several types of prescription medicine.

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