Roadside gold scammers are returning to Tri-Cities. How can you help stop them

Scammers attempting to sell low-cost gold jewelry at high prices were spotted again Monday along some highways in the Tri-Cities area.

A Washington State Patrol trooper spotted two men next to a rented Escalade pickup truck Monday afternoon weaving in and out of traffic near the intersection of Interstate 182 and Highway 395 , Trooper Chris Thorson told the Tri-City Herald.

The men, ages 49 and 28, were telling passing motorists they were having car problems and selling jewelry to raise money for their repairs, Thorson said.

They are believed to be part of the same group that stalked the highways and interstates of the Tri-Cities last fall.

They dress nicely and tell victims they are out of gas or having car trouble and need to get money quickly to get home. In exchange, they will sell them electronic devices, jewelry or watches.

Typically, scammers are aggressive and demand money, Thorson said.

Even if the prices seem good, buyers often learn later that they paid hundreds of dollars for items worth only a small fraction of the price.

On Monday, the men stood next to an Escalade rented out of state. Their driver’s licenses also indicated they were from outside Washington — one from New York and the other from Florida.

The police confiscated their collection of chains, rings and watches.

An alleged road scam selling cheap gold jewelry at high prices returned to the Tri-Cities Monday.

Although investigators did not have enough information at the time to arrest the men, they are continuing to investigate and are asking for the public’s help in building a case.

In the past, the suspected scammers were Eastern European or Romanian immigrants, who rented high-end vehicles from out of state and stopped on the side of the highway in Tri-Cities , often on an exit ramp.

They were seen last fall in Kennewick, Richland, Pasco, Benton City and Prosser, as well as other locations in Eastern Washington.

Police had some difficulty catching them last year, as the suspects reportedly disappeared before police arrived.

Police are asking anyone who is a victim of the scam to contact WSP at 509-239-6742 and refer to case no. 23-017971.

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