2 arrested for selling fake gold jewelry in possible larger scam effort, Fitchburg police say | Crime

Fitchburg police arrested a man and woman at a credit union Wednesday afternoon for allegedly attempting to sell fake gold jewelry in a possible larger scam effort, authorities said Thursday.

Elisa Trandafir, 43, of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, and Inspector Szaz, 21, of Kirckwood, Washington, were booked into the Dane County Jail on tentative charges of theft by misrepresentation, the Fitchburg Police Department said. A 14-year-old traveling with the pair was released to a family member.

Police responded to the scene after receiving a call 3 p.m. Wednesday. When officers arrived, they saw the suspect vehicle drive out of the credit union. That’s when they conducted a traffic stop. 

Authorities eventually learned both Trandafir and Szaz approached the caller at a gas station earlier in the day, where they told a story of their struggle to get money and travel to Florida.

Fitchburg police did not immediately respond to a question about the location of the credit union nor the gas station.

People are also reading…

  • Watch now: Madison anti-abortion headquarters hit by apparent Molotov cocktail, vandalism, graffiti
  • Hands on Wisconsin: Gableman and Johnson embarrass Joe McCarthy
  • Dane County Board probe of Vilas Zoo could trigger ‘nightmare scenario,’ county attorney says
  • 14-story housing project, outdoor plaza proposed for Lake Monona waterfront
  • Group claims responsibility for attack on anti-abortion organization in Madison, warns of more violence
  • Wisconsin men’s basketball coach Greg Gard worries about NIL, transfer portal ‘collision course’
  • Nursing board chair resigns over Gov. Tony Evers’ veto of advanced practice nursing bill
  • Sen. Ron Johnson says it ‘may be true’ that COVID-19 vaccines cause AIDS
  • Dog left tied to fire hydrant in Green Bay; Humane Society shares message for owner
  • Former Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez criticizes NCAA over recruiting, boosters
  • Men’s basketball transfer Max Klesmit says committing to Wisconsin is only ‘part of the dream’
  • Beer Baron: It’s last call for Right Bauer Brewing in Sun Prairie
  • Hawaii helicopter crash that killed Madison businesswoman, daughter was ‘100% preventable’
  • Teenage boy lured 10-year-old girl into woods before her killing, complaint alleges
  • Wisconsin football assistant Bill Sheridan linked to NCAA investigation at Air Force, report says

Trandafir and Szaz allegedly exchanged what they said was gold jewelry for food and gas purchased by the caller. After that first exchange, the pair offered to trade more jewelry for cash. That’s when the caller drove to the credit union, police said. 

Officers were later able to confirm the jewelry was not gold and had no significant value. 

The circumstances of the Fitchburg case are consistent with scams that have been reported throughout the U.S. “for many years,” police said. In such scenarios, victims are approached by scammers at gas stations or flagged down on the side of the road. 

The scammers often share they are from a foreign country, authorities said. They often claim that their credit cards have either been lost or stolen, and have been known to drive rental cars and be accompanied by children. 

The scams are typically part of larger organized rings of criminals, Fitchburg police said. 

The incident remains under investigation. 

UW-Madison chancellor finalist Marie Miranda backs financial flexibility, diversity efforts

editor’s pick top story

Miranda, a former Notre Dame provost, said she would work to improve diversity and advocate for bonding authority at UW-Madison. 

UW-Madison chancellor finalist Ann Cudd sees opportunity to expand research

editor’s pick top story

Cudd said she’d also address issues of access, recruitment, political divisiveness and waning public support for higher education. 

UW-Madison chancellor finalist Jennifer Mnookin aims to promote diversity

editor’s pick top story

Mnookin said more needs to be done to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion at UW-Madison.

UW-Madison chancellor finalist Daniel Reed says collaboration is key in position

editor’s pick top story

Drawing from his experiences in academia and the corporate world, Reed said he’d use the opportunity to help UW-Madison “define the future of higher education.”