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Alert Uber driver thwarts $23K scam against elderly Ithaca couple

An Uber driver’s vigilance and quick thinking helped New York State Police thwart a scam targeting an elderly couple in Ithaca, leading to the recovery of $23,000 and the arrest of two individuals.

On December 12, the driver contacted state police after picking up a package from an Ithaca residence, suspecting it was related to a scam.

The package, destined for Onondaga County, contained a large sum of money. Troopers promptly informed the Troop D Bureau of Criminal Investigation, including the Violent Gang & Narcotics Team and Community Stabilization Unit.

Within 30 minutes, State Police members were monitoring the Uber driver’s route and the delivery location.

At 12:15 p.m., when the Uber driver made the delivery, State Police apprehended the recipient for questioning.

Further investigation led them to a nearby motel, where a second associate was found.

Both suspects, Yoelvis Reyes, 39, and Mario Escalante, 45, from Hialeah, Florida, were arrested for criminal possession of stolen property in the third degree, a class D felony.

They were staying together in the motel, where a consent search uncovered additional cash. Following the Uber driver’s lead, investigators traced the origin of the money back to the elderly victims in Ithaca, who believed they were sending bail money for their nephew.

Overall, over $34,000 in U.S. currency was recovered. Both Reyes and Escalante have appeared in court and were subsequently released.