Accused Granny scammer caught in “Pigeon Drop”

FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. – Two people, including an elderly woman, have been charged with performing a so-called “Pigeon Drop” scam at a Fayette County grocery store.

Juan Alexander Jackson and Marie Mangham face one count each of felony theft by deception. Investigators said Jackson, 57, and Mangham, 74, carried out the scam in the parking lot of the Fayetteville ALDI.

Fayette County Sheriff’s Lt. Mike Whitlow described the Pigeon Drop scam:

The Pigeon Drop scam occurs when a suspect approaches someone, usually an elderly person, in the parking lot and claims to have found a wallet or bag with a large sum of cash. The suspect offers to split the money with the victim if they can obtain cash from the victim’s bank account to “verify” the serial numbers and authenticate the found money as legitimate.

“Normally what we see is $100 on one side and a $100 on the other and a whole bunch of $1 bills in the middle so it looks like several thousand dollars,” Whitlow said.

When they get back to the parking lot to split up the cash, the scammers take off and money is gone.

One victim lost $25,000 in the scam.

Police nabbed the suspects Thursday while conducting surveillance in the area around ALDI. Whitlow said undercover detectives watched Jackson and Mangham approach an elderly woman in the parking lot.

“For us to catch these people is great. For us to actually see it in progress and witness the whole thing is amazing,” said Whitlow.

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