BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A small businessman thought he struck gold, but after realizing he had been scammed he came to News 4 with video hoping you'll recognize the con artists.
Around 2 p.m. on Wednesday at the 3-Star Fashion store at 14th Street and Rhode Island in Buffalo, two men walked in looking to sell some gold.
Owner Nasser Ali recalled, "They said they have a large amount of jewelry they want to get rid of. It was kind of scrap, but it was like 14-carat jewelry."
In all, the men had around 500 grams of 14-carat gold. Ali took it in the back of the store and confirmed it was real gold, then agreed to buy it for $5,000, thinking he may be able to sell it for twice as much later.
"When I was paying him he goes like, 'That's not what we agreed on. Let me get my stuff back,'" Ali said.
Somehow at the end of that exchange, the two men had switched the ziplock bag containing real gold for a ziplock bag containing fake gold. Ali got the fake gold, and the two men made off with the real gold and his money.
"I didn't even see him put it in his pocket or anything, I don't know how fast he did it, like a magician or something," Ali said. "And as soon as they walked out of the store I was going through and I realized it was very shiny. By the time I went out, he actually had somebody come and pick him up right away."
The store surveillance didn't capture the switching of the bags, but Ali says the two spoke with a slight Hispanic accent and the photos show very distinct tattoos: one on the taller man's neck, which is hard to make out, and a tattoo on his partner's arm that reads "Anna."
Ali said, "I don't know how it happened; it was way too fast. These people could do it to anybody. Please, if anyone knows them, please contact the police. Any help, we'd appreciate it."
The Buffalo Police Tipline is 847-2255, in case you recognize the two men who took Ali's money and left him with a bag of fake gold chains.
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