Charges were filed Thursday in Douglas and Wyandotte counties against three Memphis men who allegedly conned a Kansas City, Kan., man out of cash and other property Tuesday and then tried to scam a Lawrence man on Wednesday.
Thomas C. McGee, 49, was charged locally with a misdemeanor count of unlawful use of a credit card. Wyandotte County prosecutors filed a felony count of theft against each of the other men, Curtis Wright, 38, and Willie C. Horton, 52.
Lawrence police arrested the men Wednesday afternoon after two local residents notified officers that they appeared to be running a con game on an elderly local man.
Detectives investigating the men learned that the trio allegedly cheated a 63-year-old Kansas City, Kan., man out of a large amount of cash along with jewelry and credit cards on Tuesday.
Don Ash, Kansas City police spokesman, said the victim was approached about noon by the men, who asked him for directions and then struck up a conversation.
THE MEN persuaded the victim to enter a card game, then asked him to place the money, jewelry and credit cards into a kitty shared by the men to prove that he could cover his bets.
The Memphis men, Ash said, then persuaded the man to drive home without his property under the pretense that they would come to his house later to continue the game.
The victim drove about a block away, Ash said, then realized that he probably had been conned. When he returned to the site of the game, the men were gone.
Douglas County Assistant Dist. Atty. Jerry Wells said Wyandotte authorities filed warrants against Wright and Horton after the victim identified them as the men who took his money.
Wells said the charge against McGee alleges that he used the victim's credit card. McGee made a first appearance Thursday in Douglas County District Court. His next court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday.
LAWRENCE POLICE today continued to investigate whether the trio is part of a con artist team that Midwestern law enforcement authorities have been trying to track down for several years.
"We're going back and looking at old cases that are similar in the method of operation," Lawrence police Lt. Mike Hall said. "We're going to attempt to contact the victims of those old cases, review the incidents with them and attempt to determine whether they can make an identification of the suspects."