UPDATE: Wintersville Police charge two in bait-and-switch con

The female victim reported the incident to Steubenville Police on Friday. It happened between 1 and 3 that afternoon, initially at the Big Lots in Wintersville.

Police have charged two men they believe stole up to $2,000 from a woman in Wintersville.

The case involves two men accused of slashing drivers' tires, and then catching victims off guard as they pose as Good Samaritans. Authorities identified the accused men as Scott Swiger, 52, and Joseph Payne, 26.

"They're picking out elderly victims,” Wintersville Police Chief Art Fowler said. “They are following them; they are disabling their vehicles (and) offering to help."

Then the two white males distract the victim. The first female victim said Friday she was walking out of Big Lots in Wintersville. Once in the parking lot, one of the men pointed out she had a flat tire. She accepted his offer to fix it, and she went home. As the victim was driving along Granard Avenue in ssteubenville, she noticed the suspects following behind her in a canary yellow Ford Escape. They said they forgot a phone in her trunk. No phone; no purse. When the victim drove away, she realized her purse with $2,000 cash was gone.

"We had another incident on Friday,” Fowler said. “Same vehicle, same suspects, same (Modus Operandi)."

But this potential victim was suspicious.

"She refused their help," he said.

She had seen the yellow SUV staging along Sunset Boulevard. This potential victim declined the suspects' offer for help. But did get her tired repaired that was allegedly damaged by the suspects. The brash attempts -- and apparent successes -- were caught on camera. Two suspects have been charged with felony 4 counts of theft.

In the meantime, Fowler says stay vigilant.

"Be prepared for somebody to turn the tables on you, which is exactly what these people were doing: they were preying on the elderly," Fowler said.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off