Friday, March 29, 2013

East Village grifter alert: Beware the broken vodka-bottle scam!

A heads up from a reader:

at 8:30am today i was walking down ave A ... someone passed me and a plastic bag brushed against my leg.

the bag fell to the ground and revealed a broken bottle of grey goose.

the owner of the bag, who seamed a bit down on his luck and possibly homeless, made a stink about how i broke his grey goose. he was not being aggressive but certainly upset.

Ah, yes! Then the man will produce a receipt showing that the vodka cost $60, etc.

I saw this happen a few weekends ago on St. Mark's Place. The passerby simply kept walking, paying no attention to the demands of the man holding the bag. He followed the passerby for about 30 feet then stopped.

Gothamist noted the other day that a variation of this scam was occurring with some frequency in Chinatown...

And DNAinfo noted this broken-bottle scam as well on Tuesday. Happening in Midtown. Per DNA:

"It's not a huge, huge problem," a law enforcement source said, adding, "If you say it's a scam, if you know it's a scam, they're only going to push you so hard."

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

This happened to me once only it was "you broke my glasses" instead of vodka, and it was in the S. Bronx, and there were 2 young guys who stood on either side, and wouldn't take no for answer. So it was somewhere between a scam and a mugging.

Glenn Belverio said...

Yeah, I think "ignore and keep walking" is the most efficient response to this kind of nonsense. Only greenhorns fall for this sort of thing!

RJJNY said...

This one has legs, happened to me on the platform of the 2/3 at W96 around 1992. The guy was persistent but not menacing, I had only just moved here and didn't fully grasp what was going on; gave him a couple of bucks and he went away happy.

Anonymous said...

hey, this blog posting just broke my display. it cost me 350 new, so how about it, half?

I-)

shmnyc said...

This happened to me twice. The first time, I had just come back from spending two months in the Greek islands, and was still in vacation mode. It was on 9th Avenue in the 40s. I gave the guy about $6 and we both went off feeling groovy. Later on I learned it was a scam. The second time it happened, I just told the guy to * off, and kept walking.

Anonymous said...

yes, i saw this incident this morning! I thought it was strange...

Anonymous said...

I had the same guy try to do this scam to me with glasses three different times on the same block. First time he argued with me, second time I just laughed and said nice try and the third time I spotted him coming across the sidewalk and made sure he couldnt bump me. These guys are unreal!

Anonymous said...

Snitching as news.

Anonymous said...

I bet if the target calmly suggested that he (or she) call the police and let them be the arbiter of the issue, the perpetrator(s) would be more than willing to let it slide.

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend and I experienced this last fall, on Ave A, just above Houston. The guy was surprisingly persistent, tried to make a case for us to meet him half-way in recovering the $34 cost of his vodka. We're not greenhorns, kept walking.

Uncle Waltie said...

This scam is 40 years old.

Jeff said...

A variation of this happened to me when I lived on 1st Ave @ 11th st. A guy propped his radio on the door of my apartment building. When I came out of the building, it fell, broke, he demanded 10 bucks.

Anonymous said...

Scam is alive and well on 1st ave between 7th and St. Marks.