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Keyword: fraud

UPDATE (June 1, 2019 9 a.m.):

Erika Lynn Wilkinson, wanted in connection with the theft of a calf from Braglio Farms in April, was arrested by Maryland State Police on May 31 following the public release of this story. Wilkinson is charged with various burglary and theft charges and was released following an initial hearing where she posted a $2500 unsecured personal bond.

Original Release (May 30, 2019 9:51 a.m.):

One Arrest, Warrant Issued in Theft of Calf

Baltimore County Police have arrested one woman and issued a warrant for another in the overnight theft of a calf from Braglio Farms in Woodstock back in April.

Police were called to the farm in the 3300 block of Hernwood Road, 21163 around 10 a.m. on April 22 after the owners discovered the 3-month-old calf they kept as a pet, Milly, was missing. The owners began to conduct their own internet and social media research and discovered photos of two women who were trespassing on their property and petting their cows just two days prior to the theft. During that incident the owners obtained the vehicle information for the car the two women left in after they were escorted off of the property. 

Police began investigating the two women, identified as Jennifer Lauren Sully (44) and Erika Lynn Wilkinson (19), and discovered photos of the stolen calf posted to Wilkinson's social media accounts and to a 'Life with Pigs' Facebook page in which Wilkinson was tagged. 'Life with Pigs' identifies itself as a privately owned and operated non-profit animal sanctuary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

The investigation confirmed that the stolen calf was located at the Life with Pigs farm and on May 7 detectives responded to the farm with officers from James City County Police with a search and seizure warrant for the stolen calf, which was subsequently returned to the owner. During the service of the warrant the owner of Life with Pigs farm gave false information as to how he came into possession of the calf, then admitted he was given the calf by Jennifer Sully.

Jennifer Lauren Sully of the 3500 block of Buena Vista Avenue, 21211, was arrested on a warrant Monday, May 27, and now faces multiple burglary and theft charges. She has since posted a $10,000 unsecured personal bond after an initial bail hearing.

A warrant for Erika Lynn Wilkinson with a last-known address in the 8100 block of Strawberry Lane in Falls Church, Virginia has also been obtained by BCoPD detectives investigating this case. Police have not yet located Wilkinson and are asking anyone with information on her whereabouts to call 9-1-1.

The Baltimore County Police Animal Abuse Team initiated an investigation into allegations of animal abuse against Braglio Farms stemming from this theft investigation. They, along with Baltimore County Animal Services, have found no evidence of abuse or neglect of any animal on the farm. This case remains under active investigation as additional information surrounding the theft of the calf continues to be uncovered. 

Theft by deception is a technique often used by criminals to obtain money or identifying information willingly from victims, most often our more vulnerable citizens, often the elderly. Most people have become aware of scams involving phone calls or emails requesting identifying information or confirmation of bank account numbers, some asking the victim to wire money to a stranger in need, sometimes to someone claiming to be a relative. In the last couple of months Baltimore County has experienced a new type of telephone scam, one that is terrorizing it's victims.

Since September police have been notified of at least six incidents where a stranger has called and claimed that he had kidnapped a family member and demanded a ransom be wired. The frightening aspect of this has been that the caller knew names and information about the family member, making the claim appear real. The caller has demanded that the ransom be paid by wire, immediately, while he is still on the phone, in an attempt to keep the victim from checking on the family member before obtaining the money.

All of these calls have been determined to be false calls, and all have been linked back to numbers that appear to originate from Mexico. It is important to understand that with the advent of social media, much about our lives can be obtained by strangers, including names, home locations, school locations, even phone numbers, that are allowing these phone calls to initially appear valid. They are not.

It is important to share this information with anyone you think may be vulnerable to such a scam. Never remove money from a bank, wire money, send checks, or supply any personal identification or account information over the phone or on your computer before first verifying that the claim is legitimate.

If you or someone you know receives such a phone call, or any other incident that appears to be a scam or attempted theft by deception, call 9-1-1 and report the incident to police immediately.

Original release (December 27, 2016  11:21 a.m.):

The Baltimore County Police Department has received several reports of suspicious calls and text messages today. Some people have received text messages stating that the sender has been hired to kill the recipient and to respond to the email that the text is from. Other people have reported receiving calls from someone who is claims to be with the State Police and states that they failed to appear in court or have a warrant.

At this time, police have no information about anyone who had actually provided personal information or money in response to one of the messages or phone calls.

Anyone receiving a suspicious call should not provide the caller with any personal information or send them money. People receiving suspicious emails or texts should not respond to them.

Revised June 27, 2017