COLONIE — A 23-year-old from the Bronx is under arrest for his part in what has been called a “grandparent” scam.
According to Lt. Robert Winn, Colonie investigators tracked potential suspects to Yonkers, New Jersey and Virginia.
At this time, Winn said, there is only enough evidence to charge Kevin Pichardo in the scam but police are “hopeful to make further arrests.”
Pichardo’s cell phone is currently being analyzed by the State Police and that could lead to more suspects.
On Sept. 19, Pichardo allegedly travelled to Colonie and collected some $9,000 from a victim.
He was identified and located with the help of Yonkers police after another victim called Colonie police before any money could transfer hands. In the second case, Pichardo asked for bail money for the would be victim’s grandson in the amount of $9,500 and that it be sent to an address in Yonkers.
Investigators sent a “bait” package to the address and, with the help of Yonkers police, arrested Pichardo when he picked up the package.
He was wearing the same clothes as when he was captured by surveillance cameras during an earlier scam in Colonie.
Since that video made the rounds on media outlets two other Colonie victims came forward and investigators sent “bait” packages to addresses in Glassboro, New Jersey and Fairfax County, Virginia.
Those packages were picked up, and the investigation is continuing in those two states.
Since the video aired, the suspects did change how they requested money and rather than pick it up in person, they demand it be sent by delivery service, Winn said.
Pichardo is charged with the felonies of grand larceny and attempted grand larceny and they are being elevated as hate crimes due to the victims being targeted specifically because of their age.
The hate crime designation allows for potentially more serious penalties upon conviction. For example, grand larceny is a class D felony, but if convicted of that charge the penalties would be consistent with a class C felony.
Pichardo was arraigned in Colonie Town Court and remanded to the Albany County jail.