STAMFORD, Conn. -- A New Haven man scammed an elderly Stamford man out of $138,000 for repairs on his 1997 Chevrolet Caprice during a period of several months, Stamford Police said.
Jimmy J. Megel, 42, was arrested by police in disguise as he arrived for his mother's funeral in New Haven on Tuesday afternoon, said Capt. Richard Conklin.
"It worked really well. They touched the guy before he realized they were there," Conklin said.
The Stamford police officers, who were assisted by New Haven officers, let Megel spend a few minutes paying his respects to his mother before he was arrested and taken away, he said. Conklin praised Stamford investigator Officer Paul Deriu for his work on the case.
The arrest occurred at a Dixwell Avenue funeral home shortly before 2 p.m., Conklin said.
The case dates to February, when police were first alerted by the 88-year-old North Stamford man and his family members that he was the victim of a scam. The victim had been approached in a parking lot several months before by Megel, police said. He told the elderly man that he could fix the dent in his 1997 Chevrolet Caprice, police said. Megel then returned numerous times to make what he called further repairs, police said.
Megel would then charge the victim hundreds and thousands of dollars for non-existent repairs, police said.
Police are also investigating whether Megel may have sabotaged the car, Conklin said.
"On a good day the car is worth $1,500," Conklin said about the Caprice.
Megel fled the area after police became involved, and it wasn't until police received intelligence that he would be at the funeral that they were able to nab him, Conklin said.
When Megel was arrested, a small amount of cocaine was found in his possession, along with documents including a driver's license in the name of John Mutz, Conklin said. Police said Megel has used multiple aliases.
He is charged with first-degree larceny and was held on $250,000 court-set bond. There are other warrants for his arrest from the police departments in Darien, Westport and Norwalk. Stamford Police are also investigating whether he is wanted by authorities in Virginia, Conklin said.
"This is a particularly heinous crime to prey on an elderly person," Conklin said.