As I was loading some lumber just purchased at the Home Depot in Napa, I was approached by 'Z. Raffaele' and another guy in a newer dark SUV, he asked me if I spoke Italian. They were both dressed in suits, stylish and well groomed. I initially thought they were tourists asking for directions as many visit Napa Valley. He then told me he and his business partner, who spoke no english, had been to a fashion expo in San Francisco and had several 'Armani' leather jackets left over from the expo that he did not want to take back to Italy with him and wanted to give one to me. He gave me his card which said 'Gucci-Armani-A.C.R.G.A. Boss' which I now think means 'A Complete Ripoff Gucci Armani'
My initial gut feeling was 'scam', and I tried to politley decline. He persited and said that he just wanted to give me the coat so he would have one less to take back on his flight to Italy which was leaving that evening. I then agreed to take a look at it if in fact he was just going to give it away. He pulled into a parking spot nearby and opened up the side door. There were over half a dozen garment bags on the seat. He then handed me an empty bag to hold my free coat. He then pulled a leather coat from one of the garment bags and proceeded to show me the fine stitching, liner, and asked me to feel the smooth leather, and to show that it was leather, he took a cigarette lighter and put a flame to it.
I admit I was impressed, and it looked as if it were a fair quality coat. He said it retailed at about $1400. So I am thinking OK, a free Armani leather coat. He puts it into the bag that I am holding. He then says he really does not want to take the coats back with him and wanted to give me a couple more, which he showed to me and put into my bag.
There I am with 3 coats in a bag he is going to give me, he then shows me a suede jacket that he claims retails for $1500, and he would sale to me for $750. At this point I start feeling 'scam' again and try to hand him back the bag-o-jackets. He tells me he and his partner had spent their money at a casino up north and could not pay for the rental car and they were very desparate and extremely embarassed for getting in such predicament and whatever I could do to help them out they would be very gratefull and that the four jackets where worth close to $5,000 dollars. I told them I could only give them $200 dollars for all the jackets.
He said he would take that and he would follow me to the ATM (which was in the shopping area) I handed him the bag-o-jackets, but he said he trusted me with them. So I get back in my truck with the jackets and we drive a short distance to the ATM, he walks with me to the ATM, but does keep his distance when I am at it. I hand him the $200 and he then says if I could do just $100 more they can pay for the rental car. I was hesitant, but had all the coats locked in my truck, so I pulled another $100 out and gave to him, thinking that if these are indeed 'Armani' I got them for $75 each.
Well, I researched the 'A Collezioni' jackets to find that they are Armani fakes. I dont know how much they are actually worth. They did not get what they had hoped to get from me.