Muni Shell Game in the News, Again
A gang of thieves has been running a three-cup shuffle game to strong-arm Muni passengers of their money. Sound familiar? The reports just keep coming in. Back in March, rider Adam sent us an account of the shell game con he saw the 24. A few weeks later we got a video of the con. Last night, ABC7 aired another video of the shell game in action.
The scam itself isn’t new, but the intimidation factor and targeting non-touristy bus lines make this seem more menacing than before.
A rider wrote us after seeing the segment and told us she’s seen this game before. You won’t believe when she first witnessed this, though.
Rider Eve remembers this con…back in 1974:
This has been going on for years
I was just watching the news and saw that they are still using the same “game” to steal money on muni, that they got me with when I was in the 6th grade, in 1974. I got on the bus at 7th Avenue and Geary, they were already on the bus
It was Christmas time, and I was going downtown on the 38 Geary with money I had saved up all year from allowances, birthdays.
I had about $70.00, remember this was 1974, so that was a great deal of money for me. I was so excited to go buy presents for my sister, my father and my mother for Christmas with this money.
3 black men were sitting in the back of the bus playing a card game, 2 Kings and a Queen. Same game as the 3 nut shells.
I was facinated. I watched and in my head kept guessing the right card.
They asked if I wanted to play, and it seemed like a sure thing.
Little by little, dollar by dollar, they took all the money I had. I think I was stupid enough to tell them, too, I was 12 years old.
To this day, I think about it sometimes and wonder what kind of people can do this, and steal from a child, and I will never forget what he said to me as he took my last few dollars, so I had no more Christmas money, no more gifts to buy for my family.
He said, as he knew he was cleaning me out: “You aint gonna cry if you loose, are you?” Of course, being a tough young girl (I was raised by a father who wouldn’t allow me to cry “those crockodile tears”), I said, “no”, holding back the tears. I knew what was coming.
They took my money, and I got off the bus, I didn’t want them to see my cry. I cried, as I got off the bus, difficult to see the stairs as I went down to the street, and stood there, empty, lonley, scared, humiliated, violated, used, and broke at Christmas.
They didn’t just steal my money, they stole my Christmas that year, and I never trusted anyone on any bus again.
Some of you commented that this game is so old that anyone who falls for it kind of “deserved” it, but others commented about the intimidation from this group of people — even reportedly punching someone who called them out on the scam. What do you think — a scam as old as 1974 — can it be stopped?