Officer pays woman’s airplane ticket home after scam

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Gilbert Police Officer Adam Walicke paid for the woman's ticket back to Illinois. (Photo: CBS 5)

(ABC News) — An elderly woman who flew from Illinois to Arizona who was scammed out of her last dollars when she thought she was going to meet the man of her dreams was rescued by a police officer’s kind gesture.

It all began when the elderly woman decided to spend her last money on flying from her home town in Illinois to Gilbert, Arizona, to meet a man that she had been talking to for the past year, and who she called her boyfriend, with the expectation that they would soon get married, according to ABC News’ Phoenix affiliate KNXV.

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When she arrived, however, it turned out that she had been scammed and was left all penniless and all alone in Arizona with no friends or family to help her.

Not knowing what to do, the woman went to a Walmart and sat in the Subway restaurant on site for almost 24 hours before authorities were alerted and Officer Adam Walicke stepped in.

“This could have been anybody’s grandma,” said Officer Walicke. “She had flown in from Illinois this past Friday, and when she got to the airport she had the expectation that she was going to be meeting a man and having a relationship, and a new start at life.”



Officer Walicke even said the woman told him she was sending the man money by gift cards, which, according to the federal Trade Commission (FTC), is a telltale sign of a scammer.

“Gift cards are a popular and convenient way to give someone a gift. They’re also a popular way for scammers to steal money from you,” says the FTC’s website. “That’s because gift cards are like cash: if you buy a gift card and someone uses it, you probably cannot get your money back. Gift cards are for gifts, not payments. Anyone who demands payment by gift card is always a scammer.”

After Walicke heard her story and speaking with her son back in Illinois, he knew that he had to help her.

“I just decided that the right thing to do, to get her home so that she could thrive, would be to just take her to Sky Harbor, walk up to the American Airlines counter and buy her a one-way ticket back to Chicago,” said Walicke.

And that is exactly what he did.

Thanks to Officer Walicke’s good deed, the woman arrived back home safely in Illinois where her son even picked her up from the airport.