A man accused of stealing $7,000 from an elderly man in San Bruno this month in a scam to donate money for a church pleaded not guilty to grand theft charges Friday, said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
Neccia Trinidad Teo, 37, of Washington reportedly approached the 77-year-old victim last Thursday and asked for directions to a particular church in the area, Wagstaffe said. He allegedly told the victim he wanted to find the church so he could make a donation there in honor of his father.
The victim agreed to drive Teo to the church. During the ride, Teo was reportedly able to convince the victim to donate $7,000 to the church because he wanted to raise $100,000 for the institution.
The victim dropped Teo off at the church and then went and withdrew $7,000 from his bank.
Teo allegedly suggested to the victim that he hand over the money to him so he could be the one to give it to the church. At this point, Wagstaffe said, the victim got suspicious and refused to hand over the money. Teo then allegedly grabbed the cash from the victim’s hands and ran away.
As he ran, he reportedly handed the money over to an unidentified accomplice who fled the scene and remains at large. The victim chased after Teo and flagged down a nearby police officer. Teo was taken into custody.
The stolen money has not been recovered.
Teo was appointed an attorney on Friday and pleaded not guilty, Wagstaffe said. He remains in custody on $50,000 bail and is scheduled to return to court today to set a preliminary hearing date.