The key element of a Pigeon Drop offense is the finding of a large quantity of currency and convincing the potential victim they can share in the money. The offense can be committed on any victim but is normally committed on an older victim by two suspects, females and/or males. However; it can be committed by one suspect acting in concert with someone on the telephone. The initial approach is made in retail shopping areas and follows this general described pattern.
The victim is approached by at least one suspect who engages the victim in conversation. The suspect alone (or joined by a second suspect) will find or tell the victim they found a package, wallet, etc. Subsequent examination will reveal the package contains what appears to be a large amount of currency. One of the suspects volunteers to check with her "boss" to get advice on what to do with the "found money."
The suspect may use a cellular phone to contact the "boss" or leave with the package to see the "boss." After consulting with the "boss," the suspect will tell the victim the money came from an illegal source such as gambling, narcotics, etc. and the package contains several thousand dollars (i.e. $100,000) and they can split the money three ways. The victim may also be told that the package contained a valuable bond or security worth several thousand dollars which adds to the total they can split. The victim is told the boss will help them share the money and cash the bond. He may require each of them to show, "good faith" by producing money of their own to demonstrate they can manage large amounts of money without spending it for 30 days or he may offer to make the income derived from the division of the "found money" look legitimate such as proceeds from an investment which he will "postdate."
The victim is led through the ensuing process by the suspects who let them believe they will receive a share of the "found money" for just being present when the money was found and doing very little on their part. This may entail the ruse of bank withdrawals by one of the suspects and a trip to see the "boss" with the suspect returning and displaying a share of the money. Eventually, after several temporary set backs, the victim is convinced to withdraw several thousand dollars to be able to receive a share of the "found money." Initially the victim believes they will not lose possession of the money. Eventually the money is taken from the victim and given to the purported "boss." The victim is sent into a business to see the "boss" and retrieve their money and their share of the found money only to discover there is no boss and the suspects are gone.