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Martinsburg police warn of car repair scam

May 15, 2009

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The Martinsburg Police Department is advising the public of a scam taking place in the area of Martinsburg Mall and Martin's Food Market.

Over the last week, a man has been approaching people, mostly the elderly, on foot while they are in or around their vehicles, and telling them that he has noticed some type of mechanical defect with their vehicle, police said in a news release.

Police say he identifies himself as a mechanic who can fix their vehicles at a very low price. He then asks the people to take him to an auto parts store, where he buys an inexpensive part and then pretends to fix the vehicle.

In a variation of the scam, the man asks for money to buy parts, promising to return and fix the vehicle. If he receives money, he doesn't return, police said.

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The man is a described as black, about 5 foot 8 inches tall, weighing 150 pounds and is approximately 47 years old.

Police ask anyone who has fallen victim to this scam, or who might have seen the man in the parking lot at Martin's or the mall, to call 304-264-2100.

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