Chesterfield man, desperate to save wife, caught up in bizarre ransom hoax

Posted at 11:35 PM, Dec 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-13 22:38:54-05

UPDATE: Chesterfield man, victim of hoax, speaks to CBS 6. 

CHESTERFIELD, Va (WTVR) - Police put out a  ‘be on the lookout’ Friday afternoon for a man who they said had robbed the Virginia Credit Union on Glenside Drive, and who they said was a white male in a burgundy car.

The alert was broadcast to all surrounding agencies.

Forty-five minutes later, Richmond police responded to "Call Federal Credit Union" off Commerce Road.

There was no robbery there, but there was something very suspicious.

A white male approached the counter while maintaining a cell phone conversation and withdrew $1,800 bucks, according to sources.

He then wrote a note to the teller, that said "under duress: call the police."

That man left in a burgundy Cadillac and minutes later police pulled him over in front of Philip Morris off Bells Road.

"I saw a lot of cops, a burgundy Cadillac and a guy on the ground," Deborah Weaver, who works at Philip Morris, said.

After getting the man to end his phone conversation, police say the story took a bizarre twist.

The man told police he withdrew the money because someone was holding his wife hostage at his Chesterfield County home and they wouldn't release her until he wired the funds.

"Coming through the neighborhood, going towards Route 10, I thought the whole Chesterfield County Police night division was in my neighborhood,” said Carol Ford.

Chesterfield, Richmond police and even federal agents were on Summertree Drive to check on the man’s wife.  They quickly found out that she was not being held hostage.

Then, through their investigation, they found out someone was trying to scam the man into wiring $1,800, the maximum Western Union will transfer.

The phone call, according to a source, was traced to Puerto Rico.

"Outlandish, unbelievable, it's down the street from me," said Ford.