Police: Elderly targeted by thieves pretending to be workers

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COLUMBUS, Ind. – Police are looking for a group of thieves accused of targeting the elderly.  Investigators believe three people are pretending to be workers and actually stealing from senior citizens.

In the past week, Columbus police have received two similar reports from elderly women claiming two men and a young woman offered to seal coat their driveways. In both cases, the suspects made their way into the victims’ homes.

“It appears they know what they’re doing. They’ve got a plan and the troubling thing is they are going after persons that are elderly,” said Lt. Matt Harris, with the Columbus Police Department.

One victim told police the suspects took off after she caught them going through her things.  The other elderly victim says the thieves stole her purse.

Detectives tracked the victim’s credit cards to a nearby store.  Surveillance cameras captured the thieves allegedly racking up thousands of dollars in purchases.  They were seen leaving in a light colored pickup truck.

“We want everyone to be mindful that these persons are out there and there are scams going on,” said Lt. Harris.

CBS4 has reported of similar cases on the south side of Indianapolis.  Since the start of summer, police have a handful of cases from victims in their 80’s claiming fake workers ended up stealing valuables from inside their homes.

“(I was) very, very angry. I was trying to protect my mom,” said Sondra Powell-Smith, the mother of an elderly victim.

Last week, Powell-Smith answered a knock on the door at her 84-year-old mother’s home.  She told police four men showed up trying to give her mom a rebate check for some roofing work.  Instead two of the men forced their way into the home and took off with a purse.

“It was empty thank the good Lord. So basically the joke on them on them, that’s all they got way with was that empty purse,” said Powell-Smith.

Detectives are looking into the possibility that the IMPD and Columbus cases are connected. Officials are reminding everyone, if there’s any doubt of who is at your door, just don’t answer it.

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