Man asks customer for help at store near 108th & National; police investigate possibility it was a scam

WEST ALLIS -- West Allis police are investigating a possible scam, after a recent incident at a business near 108th and National.

Police say a subject approached a customer by the checkout and asked to borrow a AAA card to tow a vehicle that was just purchased in Illinois.

As the customer walked out of the store and into the parking lot, the customer declined, saying it would not be right.

The subject then asked for a ride to the bank, but he provided two different bank names and did not know the locations of the banks.

Police say the subject also mentioned that his cell phone was not working.

When the customer suggested they try to start subject’s car, the subject ignored the customer’s question and instead said the bank is near and a tow truck is on the way to the store. The customer again suggested that they try to start his car, but the subject said he didn’t want to “take a chance.”

The subject then acted like he was using his cell phone and appeared to have a conversation with the tow truck driver. After the supposed call, the subject again asked for a ride to the bank, but could not provide a location.

The subject then tossed an umbrella in the back of a black, late 1990s four-door Saturn with a Wisconsin temporary license plate.

The customer then told the subject he is on his own.

As the customer walked away, the subject twice commented, “Do you want me to make the papers this week?” The customer felt the subject was implying he may commit some type of crime against him.

When the customer returned to the store, called police and looked back outside, the subject and his vehicle were gone.

The subject is described as male, black (dark complexion), 40-60 years of age, about 6’01-6’02” tall, with a thin build, wearing glasses. Police say the man had a neatly trimmed beard and mustache. The subject was wearing a blue button-up shirt and black dress pants.

Police say they're investigating because there are some odd aspects to this situation, though the intentions of the subject are not known.

Police are offering the following tips:

Be aware of situations like this. Some people may attempt to befriend you, ask for assistance, and then take advantage of your kindness by committing a crime against you. Don’t give rides to strangers. Keep personal effects close to you. Don’t give out personal information to strangers. If you are approached by someone who makes you feel uncomfortable, walk into a business, walk towards other people, and call police.