STAMFORD, Conn. -- Like father, like son. Stamford Police said they arrested a New Haven man who ripped off people on auto repairs, two years after arresting his father in the same scam.
Bobby Megel, 28, was charged Thursday with multiple counts of larceny, operating a repair shop without a license and illegal sales without a tax receipt after he scammed three Stamford residents — including an 88-year-old man and a woman with Parkinson's Disease — of about $3,700, police said.
Investigator Paul DeRiu said said Megel's father, Jimmy J. Megel, 44, was arrested by Stamford Police two years ago after he was accused of ripping off a then 88-year-old man of $138,000 in repairs on his 1997 Chevrolet Caprice over a period of several months. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty.
In that case, Megel was arrested by police outside his mother's wake in New Haven by plainclothes police before he knew what was happening. They allowed him to pay his respects for his mother for a few minutes before they took him away.
DeRiu said father and son used the same scam to target and rip off their victims by cruising commercial parking lots to spot someone vulnerable.
They would offer a ridiculously low estimate to fix some body damage while the person shopped, DeRiu said only to tell their victims when they returned that it was more expensive to repair than the estimate and ask for more money. Often the "repairs" were simply putting some wax on a vehicle, DeRiu said.
In the son's case, he was pulling his scam on the High Ridge Road area and in March scammed a woman with Parkinson's disease, DeRiu said. He told her the repair was more expensive than he thought and said he needed more money.
He followed the woman to an ATM, where the nervous woman dropped her ATM card and drove away after giving him $200, police said. He was able to retrieve the card and withdraw another $500 from her account, police said.
His next victim was also in March when he persuaded a 44-year-old woman to pay him $200 to make repairs, police said. When she returned home, her husband found that the repair was so bad it cost the woman about $1,200 for a legitimate repair shop to fix it, DeRiu said.
Despite being scammed, the woman was alert to have taken photos of Megel's license and license plate number and report it to police, DeRiu said.
In April, Megel hit pay dirt when he targeted an 88-year-old man and persuaded him to pay him $120 to repair his 2001 Chevrolet Prism, police said. The elderly man also allowed Megel to go to his home and work on his vehicle, police said. Megel was able to swindle him out of $2,700 for those phony repairs and charging him for parts that were never delivered, police said.
Megel is also facing similar charges in Westport, DeRiu said.
DeRiu warned consumers that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
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