VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - Police say scammers preyed on members of two churches who opened their hearts and wallets to help someone they thought was in need.
Pastors at Emanuel Way of the Cross and New Beginnings Apostolic Faith Ministries were contacted from someone claiming to be a bishop in Tennessee. He said he had a parishioner moving to the Beach who wanted to join their ministries.
"He knew all about my past all the way back almost 30 years ago all the way to when I was in the military Ft. Hood, Texas back in the 70s," New Beginnings' Pastor Joseph King said.
After the first call came another, this time from the parishioner. The woman claimed her car broke down on the way into town and said she was starting a new job the next day.
"Since it was supposed to be urgent and she and she supposedly had two children with her at the same time, I sent some money to help her get up here and she was supposed to pay it back when she got in the area," King said.
Emanuel Way of the Cross was shorted approximately $1,900 and New Beginnings $5,000.
"People are targeting churches and what that does is actually make it hard for those really in need in an emergency," King said.
King said he'll do some investigating of his own next time around.
If you have any information that could help Virginia Beach Police with their investigation, call the Crime Line at 1-888-Lock-U-Up.
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