PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Around 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon, Danny Dastranj is getting ready to close his “Penn-West Gold and Diamond Company” on Perry Highway.
“Two young men came in,” he said, “one was approximately 6-foot-3 to 6-foot-4.”
His name was Rodriego. His partner, about 5 feet 2 inches tall was Mario. They had two gold chains to sell.
And Dastranj said the men made him feel uncomfortable, but the chains passed the acid test.
“All my normal tests, my machines, everything perfectly 14 karat,” Dastranj said.
They settled on $1,600 and Dastranj made photocopies of the chains, as well as Mario Sandoval’s Illinois driver’s license before he began counting out the money.
“The tall one said to me, ‘you know what, I changed my mind, I need more money,’” Dastranj said.
So Dastranj returned the gold chains.
“Put it back in that same plastic bag he had given me,” Dastranj said. “He took it, put it in his pocket.”
The guy turned around and with hands in pockets, made a switch.
“And then turned around again and said, ‘you who what, I need the money,’” Dastranj said.
So Danstranj handed over the $1,600 and Rodriego passed him the plastic bag.
After the two suspects left, they jumped into a silver-gray Mercedes-Benz 500 and sped off.
Almost immediately Danstranj knew he’d been robbed. They had taken the money and the real gold, leaving fakes.
“I took it out of the bag,” Danstranj said. “I can see it’s too shiny to be gold.”
The chains were also missing a “Made in Italy” mark he said.
The car had Illinois plates and a partial tag number is R14 or R16.
“We would encourage anybody who was also a victim, or has been a victim, to contact us,” McCandless Township Police Chief Garry Anderson said.
“Violated, scammed,” is how Danstranj said he felt afterward. He says it’s not just about the money though.
“The whole weekend I thought about it,” he said. “I said to myself, I’m smarter than that. How could these guys take me, I’m almost 70 years old.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact McCandless Police at 412-369-7992.