Men fake seizures to pick-pocket

Friday, April 11th 2008, 11:08 pm
By: News 9

By Jacqueline Sit, NEWS 9

Thieves in Norman have been faking seizures as a way of robbing those willing to help them, police said.

The robbers have struck twice, both victims were two elderly men, and now police are looking for who's responsible.

Russell Mathis, one of the victims, was visiting his wife at the hospital when the two men pick-pocketed him in an elevator.

"A lot of people that have relatives who are at the hospital are very concerned and they're not thinking quite straight," Mathis said.

Mathis said when was riding the elevator, one of the men faked a seizure. Mathis grabbed the man to help him up, and without even realizing it, the other man pick-pocketed him. It was hours later that he realized his billfold was missing.

"I was amazed at how smooth and fast these people were because the whole thing I doubt it took a minute," Mathis said.

The crooks didn't waste any time. They managed to take everything including his ID, social security card, and credit cards.

"I spent between $3000 to $5000 in just no time flat," Mathis said.

Norman Police said hours earlier, a similar crime happened at a Cracker Barrel Restaurant. In that case, the man caught up to the thief when he found out his wallet was missing only to fall into another trap.

"Apparently, when they knew they were caught, they just took part of the cash and gave him the rest fooling him into thinking everything was alright," said Captain Leonard Judy of the Norman Police Department.

Police said they don't see many cases like what happened to Mathis.

"When they call up on the sympathy of this person who is just trying to help someone in need of assistance and victimize them in that context, it just sort of adds insult to injury," Judy said.

Mathis said his main concern was the suspects could be hard to catch. They were well dressed, clean cut and blended into the crowd easily.