NEW YORK CITY — Three women convinced a 72-year-old victim that "evil spirits" would haunt her family unless she offered up money to the ethereal realm, cops said.
Instead, she was left holding a bag full of newspapers and water bottles with her hard-earned cash in the wind, police said.
The con began when two of the suspects befriended the victim near Prince and Elizabeth streets about 9 a.m. on May 9, according to the NYPD.
As the three spoke, a third suspect joined the conversation and told the older woman that evil spirits will harm her family unless they "cleaned" her savings, cops said.
The trio offered to help with this spiritual transaction and the woman brought them her cash, a police spokesman said. They placed it in a bag which they then handed back to her, he added.
They told her that in order for the transaction to work, the money needed to be "cleaned" within the bag and it shouldn't be opened for a full week, the spokesman said.
But curiosity got the better of the victim and she opened the bag hours later in her home and found only crumpled newspapers and empty water bottles, the spokesman said.
It was unclear how much money the three women stole, cops said.
One of the suspects is believed to be about 5 feet tall and 100 pounds, cops said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).