AMSTERDAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On Wednesday, the Amsterdam Police Department was told two suspicious people had approached a city resident in their home, saying they were out of gas and needed help. The suspects then allegedly offered to exchange golden jewelry for gas money.
The resident quickly realized that the suspects were involved in some scam, and called Amsterdam Police. The suspects’ vehicle was later seen on Northampton Road, where the driver committed a traffic infraction trying to flee the area, according to police. When police pulled over the car, they arrested the two adult suspects, who had an infant child with them.
A further investigation resulted in misdemeanor criminal solicitation charges for the suspects, who police identified as Ricard Miclescu, 22, and Ardeleanca Vaduva, 26, both of Essex, Maryland. Police say they also seized a stockpile of fake gold jewelry used to carry out this scam.
“We’re seeing this grow to a scale that is larger than we thought [from] when we first uncovered it,” said Lt. Joseph Spencer, Public Information Officer with the Amsterdam Police Department.
The suspects charged in this incident are believed to be a part of a larger ring of organized individuals carrying out the scheme in Montgomery, Fulton, and Schoharie Counties. When the Amsterdam Police Department released the arrests, other law enforcement agencies across state borders reached out to Amsterdam PD stating they’ve been reporting the same crimes. “It’s not gang-related but this is an organized crime. We were made aware of this scam and the two we took into custody are part of the group, but we had identified other people in further parts of Montgomery County,” said Lt. Spencer.
The investigation is ongoing and further charges are possible.
Anyone who the two arrestees may have approached is encouraged to contact their local police department. The United States Department of Homeland Security assisted in this investigation.