Reg Honeybourne, 89, lost $2,100 to a man claiming to be a younger relative who needed emergency car repairs. It was a scam, police say. ((CBC))

Police are warning the public about a scam artist targeting elderly Winnipeggers by pretending to be a relative with a hard-luck story that empties his victims' wallets.

One of two elderly men who have been victimized in recent months stepped forward on Wednesday to tell CBC News his story.

Reg Honeyborne, 89, said he was approached on Aug. 17 by a man who pretended to be a nephew having car trouble while passing through town on a trip.

Honeyborne said he hadn't seen the relative in nearly 20 years, but trusted him because he seemed to know details about his life.

After driving to pick up the man, they had coffee at a Winnipeg restaurant where Honeyborne said he was asked for $2,100 to pay for vehicle repairs.

Honeyborne said he did what any family member would: he took the man to a bank machine and handed over the cash. The man intentionally stood out of the view of surveillance cameras, police said.


Police said they believe this man, captured here in a security camera image, is victimizing elderly Winnipeggers and scamming them out of money. ((Winnipeg police))

Days later, Honeyborne said he called his nephew in Toronto and learned he'd been had.

Now he suspects the man may have dug discarded letters out of the garbage to learn about him and set up the scam.

"I admire the guy in a way because he's so good at his job," Honeyborne said.

A suspect using the same methods victimized a 91-year-old man on Aug. 5, police said.

Police released a photo of the man they believe is behind the scam and described him as being Caucasian, about five-foot-nine with short dark hair and wearing blue jeans.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 204-986-2839, 204-986-2877 or Winnipeg Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).