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Fake diamond scam leads to kidnap, robbery of Renton woman

She seemed like such a nice lady with a sad story – her uncle was seriously hurt in a car accident in Yakima.

The uncle was given three diamonds by the person who ran into him; now the woman was looking for somewhere to sell them to use the money to help her uncle.

A 33-year-old Renton woman, who was shopping in the toy department at Walmart with her 5-year-old daughter, didn’t know where in Renton the woman could sell the diamonds. But she was sympathetic; the woman with the diamonds seemed so distraught.

Just then, a man who looked nice walked by. The woman asked him for help. He agreed. He told them he works at the car dealership next door and he knows where she could get cash for the diamonds.

The two women and the child waited on a bench outside the store while he got one of the diamonds appraised. He returned with news she could get $15,000 to $18,000 for the diamond.

He returned about five minutes later with a blue bag full of what appeared to be $100 bills.

The woman went to the restroom to count the cash; she declined the victim’s help to count it.

But the “thousands of dollars” still weren’t enough. Now, the suspect pressed the victim about buying the other two diamonds. $1,000 was too much, $500 was too much. She didn’t have any money.

But she did have an account at Bank of America with $75 in it.

She walked to her car, followed by the two suspects. They continued to ask for any money she had, telling her they would take her daughter if she didn’t give them something.

Now everyone was in the victim’s car. The man asked the victim about her debit and credit cards. She told them about the $75, but he knew the cash machine would let her take out $300.

She paid them the $300 ransom.

The victim drove the suspects back to Walmart, where they stole her cell phone and a ring that was given her by her mother.

Don’t call anyone for 15 minutes, the female suspect told her. The suspect threw one of the “diamonds” at her; the clear stone was placed into evidence.

The “nice” man didn’t work at the car dealership next door.

The victim told her husband what happened, then drove to the bank to report what happened. She hadn’t thought to call police until the bank asked her for a case number.

Based on the victim’s statements, police determined the two suspects intentionally abducted the mother and her child and held them for a reward.

“I would characterize it as a scam that then turned into a robbery/kidnapping,” said Terri Vickers, a spokeswoman for the Renton Police Department.

A detective is investigating the case.

Vickers encourages that anyone faced with a similar situation call 911 if possible and contact store personnel. If that’s not possible, they should call 911 as soon as possible, she said.

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