ST. CHARLES – Police are seeking information about what they are calling a diamond scam involving a man and a woman police said targeted a woman at a store in St. Charles.
According to a news release issued by the St. Charles Police Department, a woman was approached by a man earlier this month at the Jewel-Osco store on Prairie Street in St. Charles. Police said the man identified himself as Oscar Lopez, who they described as approximately 40 years old, 5 feet, 7 inches tall with a heavy build and black, curly hair.
Police said Lopez told the woman that he had found a diamond at a cleaning job where he worked and said he needed a ride to Meijer, on Randall Road in St. Charles. A different woman was nearby and stated she also needed a ride to Meijer, and the victim drove both Lopez and the other woman to Meijer. Police described the second woman as 35 to 40 years old, 5 feet, 2 inches tall and 110 pounds with black hair.
At Meijer, Lopez showed the women five diamonds and three gold coins, police said. One of the women said she would take the items into Meijer to be appraised by a friend, and she returned to the vehicle and told Lopez and the victim that the largest diamond was valued at $10,000, police said. She then re-entered the Meijer and said she had sold the diamond for that value, and the victim then dropped the other woman off across the street. Police said the victim then drove Lopez to her house, where she paid him $20,000 for the remaining diamonds and traded her wedding and engagement rings for a fifth diamond and a coin.
Police said the victim later had the diamonds appraised and found they were worthless.
"Law enforcement is aware of organized, nationwide, traveling diamond scammers that specifically target Hispanic and Asian women in retail establishments," police stated in the release. "The St. Charles Police Department would like to remind residents to remain alert when out in public.
Police seek information about the incident. Anyone with information can call the investigations section at 630-443-3743 or the department's tip line at 800-378-4267. The tip line is available online at www.stcharlesil.gov/report-crimedrug-tip.