The Broken Bottle Scam Spreads Through Brooklyn

12/02/2010 11:06 AM |

con men

  • Some scams are more elegant than others.

I’ve never personally experienced the Broken Bottle Scam, but I’d heard about it happening in Paris, years back (it has a certain Old World gentleness to it, frankly). Anyway, the scam—in which someone carrying a bag brushes against you, drops the bag, and asks you to pay for the broken bottle of “booze” that was in the bag—was reported earlier this year in Clinton Hill, and was recently reported happening in Bed-Stuy around the holiday. Firsthand report (from Bed-Stuy Blog) after the jump.

A man walking a bicycle on the sidewalk brushes shoulders (or slams in to them) with someone walking the other way. Drops a bag with a glass bottle in it—claims that it is a bottle of alcohol and that he is bringing home to his girl/family/whatever and then tries to intimidate the other person to give him money to replace it etc. This happened to us on Thanksgiving eve on our way to the Black Swan. Because it was so close to Tday and I had visions of “when keeping it real goes wrong” in my head (and wanted to avoid a fight between the hubby and the shithead)-we handed over some cash to avoid the confrontation from escalating. The crazy thing is the very next day our tenant relays a similiar confrontation a couple of blocks away—same MO—guy with a bike and a bag/slamming shoulders, etc. The physical description was exactly the same as well. The fellow doing this is about 5’7″, stocky, wears a big poofy black jacket which he likes to unzip during the confrontation, walks a bike and slams sholders with an unsuspecting passerby and then tries to extort money.

So yeah, step lively out there, people.

2 Comment

  • This has happened to me so many times in NYC. Once in the subway in Time Square (I was a tourist at the time)…it was a pair of glasses (this dude was good…actually had broken glasses).

    Next on the street in chelsea with an intense salesman saying I stepped on a vile of oil (like I wouldn’t smell that shit all over my shoe or feel the glass break)….

    lastly in the east village a dude said I stepped on his “bag” I was like what the fuck…where is the bag, what was in it…and he backed off.

    this scam is bullshit. be careful.

  • I successfully avoided the glasses scam once, standing on the principle that this is New York City, and people bump into each other all the time, and it’s your responsibility to watch your own shit. I felt bad about it for weeks though, as the kid had a real earnest, I’m just a poor college student angle and believable delivery. I only found out years later that it was a thing that happens regularly. It was a real load off my mind!