Police Log: Resident Loses Thousands to Fraudster Seeking Gift Cards and Other Stories


Image by Westwood Minute/Darlene Wong Cancell.

The news described in Westwood Minute's weekly Police Log article series is primarily based on selected incidents from the Westwood Police Department's daily log, and information provided by Lieutenant Christopher Sheehy and police staff through written records and conversations. Occasionally, Westwood Minute may weave a few facts that it obtains from other sources into these stories.

Monday, April 29th

Dog Struck by Car on Milk Street

8:09 a.m. A caller reported a dog was struck by a vehicle on Milk Street. Westwood’s animal control officer responded. The owner was at the scene, distraught. No further information is available at this time as the report had not yet been completed at the time this article was prepared.

Saturday, April 27th

Scrap Metal Stolen from Car Dealership

10:03 a.m. An officer was dispatched to Acura Westwood to investigate a theft that occurred overnight. The director of operations explained that on the prior night, the business’s security reported suspicious activity about 20 minutes after the incident had occurred. Two males were seen exiting a white truck and unloading scrap metal from the back of the dealership into the truck, which may have a Rhode Island license plate. 

The director of operations noted that the recyclable metal is not intended to be trash, as it has a value for which the dealership will be compensated. The responding officer noted that the dealership can put up a sign indicating that the scrap metal is property of the dealership and should not be considered trash.

Friday, April 26th

Rear-End Collision with Air Bag Deployment

7:42 a.m. A 2007 grey Toyota Corolla driven by a Westwood woman rear-ended a 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by a Millis man at the intersection of High Street and Mayfair Drive. The Jeep was stopped to make a left turn from High Street onto Mayfair Drive. The driver of the Toyota did not notice the stop, and crashed into the Jeep. The Corolla’s airbag deployed, and the car suffered major front end damage. The driver of the Jeep complained of back pain but declined transportation to a hospital. The responding officer cited the driver of the Corolla for following too closely.

Thursday, April 25th

Unexplained Sound

1:02 a.m. A resident of Alder Road reported a loud, buzzing noise. Police responded, but the noise had stopped.

Shoplifting Suspects Receive Trespass Warning

4:00 p.m. Two officers responded to a report of shoplifting at Wegman’s grocery store on University Avenue. The suspects were a man and woman from Boston, both around 40 years of age. They subsequently paid for the stolen items and were given a trespass warning.

Wednesday, April 24th

Pine Hill School Construction Site Noise

5:16 a.m. Police received a noise complaint by a caller who told police that work was starting too early at the Pine Hill School construction site. Work at the site should not be started until 7:00 a.m. Police responded and found no work being performed; however, machines were in the process of being moved.

Fox Family

1:42 p.m. A resident of Railroad Avenue contacted police to express concern over seeing a fox with pups run through the resident’s yard in the daytime. The complainant noted that a teenager in the family frequents the shed area where the fox family is believed to have set up home.

The resident asked if the entry to the den could be blocked by rocks. The animal control officer advised that blocking the den should be done after the pups have grown. Bright lights at night and noise were also advised as ways to deter the fox family from settling in.

Tuesday, April 23rd

Repeat Rear-Ender

7:18 a.m. Around the 800 block of High Street, a 1993 Lexus driven by a man from Westwood rear-ended a 2001 Toyota driven by a woman from Westwood. Both vehicles had been heading eastbound in rush hour traffic. Minor damage resulted to both vehicles with no injuries and no tow required. The responding officer noted that the trailing Lexus was following too closely. No citation was issued.

7:43 a.m. Half an hour after rear-ending a fellow Westwood resident on the 800 block of High Street, the same Westwood man at fault in the previous accident resumed driving his 1993 Lexus, and subsequently rear-ended a 2017 GMC driven by a man from Franklin. Both vehicles were significantly damaged, with fluids leaking onto the road. Both vehicles required a tow. Police cited the Westwood man for following too closely.

Employee Steals from Cash Register

10:22 a.m. Police responded to a report of employee theft from the Seasons convenience store on Providence Highway. Police spoke to an employee of Marylou’s Coffee who showed police a video of an employee secreting money from the cash register and hiding it on their person. The officer contacted the employee who admitted to taking $80. The employee also requested the officer’s assistance in arranging the money’s return and a chance to apologize. The employee was fired, and police confirmed that the money was returned. No charges have been filed due to the employee’s cooperation and the return of the stolen cash.

Identity Theft to Buy a Cell Phone

4:32 p.m. A resident of Spellman Road reported identity theft when the resident was contacted by Lifelock, which informed the resident that someone had ordered a T-Mobile phone using the resident’s name. The transaction was declined. Around the same time, the resident’s bank notified the resident of an attempted purchase transaction, which was also declined. The resident cancelled the credit card used in the transaction, reported the incident to credit reporting bureaus, and froze the resident’s credit.

Resident Loses Thousands to Fraudsters

6:13 p.m. A resident reported that around 5:44 a.m., she received an email from “Apple,” querying whether her Apple ID was used to download a BJ Wholesale Club app onto a computer. Later that evening, a man identifying himself as “Emmanuel Joseph,” called the resident and informed her that her bank account had been hacked. He advised her to move her money to another bank. He gave her a telephone number to verify the bank's legitimacy.

The resident called the number and was transferred to an “FDIC” person. The supposed FDIC representative urged her to go to the bank to transfer funds. The resident withdrew $9,000 in cash from a Norwood bank, and placed $5,000 or $6,000 in a digital wallet.

She was then instructed to go to Home Depot to purchase three or four $1,000 gift cards. The victim did so and provided the gift card codes to “Emmanuel”

The resident was then instructed to withdraw another $4,000 at the bank, and to purchase gift cards. The resident purchased four $1,000 gift cards at Lululemon and provided the card codes to Emmanuel.

The resident became suspicious and made a report to the police. Using the resident’s Citizens Bank ATM card, Westwood Police contacted her bank and froze her accounts. She was advised to report the case to credit reporting bureaus. Police also contacted family members of the victim to inform them of what had occurred and how to help the Westwood resident.

The total lost by the resident was about $12,000.

Monday, April 22nd

Identity Theft to Open Cellular Phone Account

3:36 p.m. A resident of Canton Street reported an account for T-Mobile had been opened fraudulently in the resident’s name. The resident learned of the account after a collection agency attempted to collect over $2,000 in unpaid bills for the account, which had been closed in 2022.

One Thing Leads to Another

6:24 p.m. An officer observed a black Honda Accord traveling at 48 m.p.h. in excess over the 25 m.p.h. speed limit on Washington Street. The officer conducted a traffic stop. In searching for a Massachusetts registration, the driver looked into the center console. The officer spotted what appeared to be a silver firearm inside the console.

The driver was extracted from the vehicle. Examination of the object showed that it was a cigarette lighter that was made to resemble a Heckler & Koch semiautomatic pistol.

The officer also learned from dispatch that the driver had his license suspended in May 2023. Police made the arrest and cited the man, a 30 year old from Randolph, with operating a motor vehicle after suspension and for speeding.

Thanks to Lieutenant Christopher Sheehy and the Westwood Police Department for contributing information for this Westwood Minute article.

You may also be interested in reading:

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Four Arrested in Connection to 43 Breaks Across 25 Communities, Including Westwood and Nearby

Westwood Families Report Thefts over School Vacation Week

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