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'Grandma Scam' suspects arrested in Twin Cities

Police found $90,000 in cash at a hotel where the suspects were staying, which they say could mean more victims are unaccounted for.

MINNEAPOLIS — Many people have heard of what's called a "grandma scam" — where the scam artist pretends to be a grandchild in trouble and in urgent need of money. 

Several older people in the Twin Cities have fallen victim this year, but now, two people are in jail after someone wise to the scam helped out their neighbor.

"They know grandkids are your pride and joy. And there's no way you want your granddaughter sitting in jail," said Margaret Shannon from Hastings.

She fell victim when she received a phone call from what she thought was her college-aged granddaughter, crying, and claiming to need $18,000 dollars because of a car accident she caused. 

Margaret withdrew the money and gave it to a man she was told was a courier who showed up at her door.

Police intercepted an additional $25,000 the scammers asked her to ship.

She's sharing the story to warn others how easy it can be to fall victim to a crime that targets the heart.

"I'm more relieved that she wasn't hurt and wasn't in jail," she said.

But Margaret's story ends differently than most of these scam ordeals. 

She had no idea that besides her case in Hastings, police were investigating the same scam in Woodbury, Savage and Chisago County.

The same thing happened the day before in Savage, but there, a suspicious neighbor jotted down the license plate number. It was a rental car — with a tracker inside — which eventually led police right to the suspects. 

Inside an Eden Prairie hotel, police found close to $90,000 cash, which was more than twice the amount stolen from the victims police know about.

Two men who recently arrived from New York — Derrick Frazier and Derrick Cooper — are charged with theft by swindle.

"Why don't they just work for a living?" Margaret said.

If they are convicted, Margaret will get the rest of her money back. She wants to give other victims the opportunity to do the same.

"We know there's more out there that probably haven't reported it," she said.

Hastings police say that's true, and they're looking for the rest of the victims. Anyone who may have fallen victim or has an older family member who might have should contact them.

Police advise people hang up and call a family member directly to confirm whether there is an emergency before withdrawing any money.

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