Update 2:55 p.m. According to the Berkeley police, a woman was approached in downtown Berkeley and asked whether she wanted to make “some quick money”. She entered a car and was driven to the Wells Fargo in the Elmwood where she was apparently going to cash two checks. She entered the bank to establish her identity as a Wells Fargo customer, but there she asked the bank staff to call the police. The police arrived at the bank and arrested three suspects. The case is being investigated as a suspected fraud.


Several police cars were on the scene today at around 1:15 p.m at the Wells Fargo Bank on College and Ashby. At least three people, two men and a woman, were handcuffed and sitting on the curb under police supervision in the parking lot to the rear of the bank.

We will provide updates when we have new information.

Tracey Taylor

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...

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  1. Who the hell would try something this stupid? Oh! I just looked at the picture with the perps. Ok, now it makes sense.

  2. I am also reminded of the old saying:  “there is a sucker born every minute.”

     Maybe dishonest people will go along with a scheme presented by strangers for quick money if the fraudsters are smoothly convincing. Maybe the cons just keep asking til someone says yes?

  3. I am pretty sure that honest people would not agree to accompany strangers into a car, be driven to their bank across town, enter the bank and attempt to cash checks for strangers on the strength of their relationship with the bank. We don’t know what happened, but I wouldn’t be surprised if these criminals planned in advance to have the person presenting herself as an identifiable customer of the bank got the slightest impression that the bank employee was alerted to possible fraud, that she would use a cover story and say she had been coerced into committing fraud.

    I hope berkeleyside can find out for the rest of us.

    I am reminded of the old saw:  “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is”. What honest person would believe two strangers that approached her on the street and promised easy money for honestly cashing checks?

    I’ll stay tuned.  I hope berkeleyside, in the interests of truth, justice and the Berkeley way gets the whole story for us.

  4. According to the police, when they responded to the call there was a suspicion of kidnapping. When they arrived, they determined that it was a possible fraud, and it was not a kidnapping. Police are still investigating and at time of writing there have been no charges.

  5. I’m really confused.  Was the woman kidnapped?  Or she just got into a random car with some strangers to “make some quick money”, but then had second thoughts when she got to the bank?  And what exactly is the scam — they get a Wells Fargo account holder to cash a fraudulent check and then give her a cut of the money?

  6. I wonder how many people just go along with the scam.  Must be plenty if these guys felt like picking up some random person downtown was the way to go.