The Riverdale Con Caper

The Riverdale Con Caper

So I’m over at a friend’s Riverdale home for dinner last night, maybe 20 blocks away from my place, and I start to tell him my story about this puny little milquetoast weasel who tried to con me out of some money on my doorstep at 3:30 am—when he stops me in my tracks and tells me how, just the other night, he lived through the very same experience.

Same exact guy—short and skinny, ball cap, glasses, appearing perfectly harmless. Same exact con—he lives just a few doors down, his van full of wine is stranded nearby, and he needs dough to fill up the tank. My buddy actually bought the story for $20, but I don’t blame him. It’s a good con. Weasel is obviously sticking with what works.

What’s unnerving is the similar life circumstances in both my life and my friend’s. We’re both young enough and friendly enough to look like we could make easy suckers. We also both live on purely residential streets, where you’d least expect to be confronted with a confidence game. The other times I was dealt this swindle, I was out in public, less than a block away from a major artery frequented by shady characters (Sherbrooke West and Bloor West), so suspicions arose more readily.

More intriguingly, we both moved into our homes in December. Which is to say: we’ve been around long enough to get settled, but not long enough to get to know all our neighbours, which forced us both to take his help-me-neighbour plea seriously for at least a minute. This has us both wondering just how well he’d staked us out, because his scam surely wouldn’t pass muster with a longtime resident of the street. We’re notifying our real estate agents in case Weasel is targeting recent home buyers. That’s a little bit paranoid of us, I know, I know. But this sly little artist has given lots of thought to his small-time scam and seems to know who he likes to approach.

In the meantime, we’re surely not his first two marks. If anyone else has had to confront this guy, drop me a line at