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Scam Alert: KPD bomb squad responds to open Hawkins man's '$1 million briefcase'

Jeff Bobo • Aug 31, 2018 at 8:23 AM

ROGERSVILLE — The Kingsport Bomb Squad responded to the Hawkins County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday to make sure a briefcase that scam artists indicated contained $1 million in cash didn't actually contain something hazardous.

The bomb squad X-rayed the locked briefcase, determined it was safe, and upon opening it discovered no cash, but instead some old cookbooks, a Bible, magazines and some sales papers.

A 76-year-old Hawkins County man told the HCSO he'd been having telephone conversations for the past few weeks with a man calling himself "Steve Silver," who claimed the man had won $16 million.

The man was told he would receive a briefcase in the mail containing $1 million in cash, along with a check for the remaining $15 million.

On Tuesday, a locked black leather briefcase arrived in the mail from an address in Detroit. The man was told he would have to send Steve Silver a $4,800 bank transfer in order to receive the combination to the briefcase.

At that point, the man realized this was probably a scam and contacted the HCSO.

Up to that point, however, the man had talked to Silver almost every day. He told the HCSO Silver didn't have a foreign accent and he almost believed him but didn't follow through with the payment.

HCSO Chief Deputy Tony Allen said the man was concerned that the scammers may be trying to hurt him. As a precaution, the bomb squad was called in to examine the briefcase before they tried to open it.

Allen said all items connected to the briefcase, including its contents and postal packaging, have been collected as evidence.

The postmark was from Detroit, and the return address on the packaging was Beverly Wisenhunt, 8501 Woodland Ave., No. 104, Detroit, MI 48201.

Allen said he is consulting with the FBI on how to proceed with this investigation.

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