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2 men who tried to scam elderly woman out of $12K rearrested after release

BETHEL PARK, Pa. — Two men who were arrested in connection to a scam targeting grandparents and then released days later are once again in police custody.

On Tuesday, Bethel Park police announced they arrested two men they say were caught in the act of scamming an 83-year-old woman. Police said they got Wilson Burgos Hernandez and Noel Medrano-Abreu when they showed up at the woman’s home to collect more than $12,000.

“We are working with multiple local jurisdictions to see if we can tie our actors in with any other crimes that happened around western Pennsylvania,” Bethel Park police Chief Timothy O’Connor said Thursday.

11 Investigates confirmed the jail released both men a short time later.

One of them is from New Jersey, and the other is here illegally on an expired visa from the Dominican Republic.

On Thursday night, Hernandez was rearrested in Philadelphia as he attempted to board a plane for the Dominican Republic, Bethel Park police announced Friday morning. Medrano-Abreu was also rearrested Thursday night when he returned to the Bethel Park police station to retrieve the vehicle they were driving.

“Both men are now in jail and have been denied bail on their new charges,” the Bethel Park Police Department posted on Facebook.

Magistrate Eileen Conroy had previously allowed them to be released on their own recognizance -- no bail.

11 Investigates asked the judge for comment, and why they weren’t considered a flight risk. A court spokesperson responded, saying he could only confirm the men were released without bond.

Hours after their arrest, Leetsdale Borough police and Pennsylvania State Police filed warrants for them on similar charges. But it was too late -- they had already been released.

FBI Special Agent Patrick Kennedy said these arrests are rare because the majority of these scammers operate from another country.

This is the second time in a few months Bethel Park police set up a sting to catch criminals in a grandparent’s scheme.

In October, they arrested four men and all were kept in jail.

Now, federal investigators have taken over that case. O’Conner had hoped that’s what would happen in this case.

“We have also been in contact with federal authorities to see if they are part of a larger scheme that’s targeting people beyond Pennsylvania,” O’Connor said.