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Thieves scam Sac State student with Down's syndrome out of hundreds of dollars

11:17 PM, May 23, 2013   |    comments
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  • Person of interest Sacramento State University police want to identify in connection to large amount of money taken from disabled student, May 16, 2013
  • Individuals sought for questioning in connection with duping Sac State student with disabilities into giving up money.
  • Person of interest Sacramento State University police want to identify in connection to large amount of money taken from disabled student, May 16, 2013
    

SACRAMENTO, CA - Sacramento State police are looking for two men who scammed a student with Down's syndrome out of hundreds of dollars.

"I was kind of upset," Luke Barnes said.

Barnes is kind, open and trusting, but the 22-year-old Sac State student learned a harsh lesson the hard way.

Last Thursday, Barnes was playing video games in the University Union. Two guys promised to give him two laptops if he'd buy them $600 in gift cards and then they walked with Barnes around campus. After Barnes bought them the gift cards, they told him they'd be right back.

"They never showed at all," Barnes said.

The men took advantage of his trusting nature.

"What they preyed on is the part of Luke we love so much," stepfather Paul Burke said.

Unfortunately, it's not the first time someone has taken advantage of Barnes. So when Barnes told Burke, a sociology professor at Sac State, what happened, they almost didn't notify police.

"We were about to drive home when I thought, 'I can't let this one go because if they prey on Luke, they will prey on other people and probably pick on disabled people in particular,'" Burke said.

Surveillance cameras in University Union caught the suspects' images. Police said the surveillance photos are on fliers around campus.  Barnes is asking the public to take a close look at the pictures to bring the suspects to justice.

FOLLOW-UP STORY: Donations pour in for student with Down's syndrome scammed out of $600 

"It's not nice to steal money," Barnes said.

"Preying on a young man with Down's syndrome seems pretty vile," Burke said.

Meanwhile, Barnes has a message for others.

"You have to be careful," Barnes said.

Police don't know whether the suspects are Sac State students. If you have any information, you're urged to call Sacramento State police at (916) 278-6851.

By Siemny Chhuon, schhuon@news10.net

Twitter: @siemny

News10/KXTV

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