Sacto 9-1-1
May 1, 2008
Thieves pretend to fix fence in elder scam

An elderly couple in Roseville lost $3,000 to scam artists who came into their home posing as repair people, police reported.

The incident occurred about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday when the thieves - a man and a woman - knocked on the door to say they were repairing the fence between the couple's yard and their neighbors, said Dee Dee Gunther, a police spokeswoman.

The thieves said they were related to the neighbor and insisted that they had met the couple in the past, Gunther said. The couple are in their late 70s to early 80s, she said.

More details from Art Campos:

The thieves then said they needed to use the couple's electricity to run their power tools for the work, Gunther said. The man pulling the con even offered to pay $50 for the use of the electricity and handed the elderly man a $100 bill, she said.

When the victim went to get change, the thieves noticed where the couple's money was kept, Gunther said. The thieves then continued to talk to and distract the couple until one of them could steal the rest of the money without being noticed, she said.

After the suspects left, the victims discovered their cash was missing, Gunther said.

The suspects were described as a male and female of undetermined race, both in their 50s.

The male thief was described as about 5 feet 8 inches tall and 175 pounds. He had a medium complexion,Gunther said. He wore a baseball hat, glasses, a white T-shirt with writing on it and light-colored pants.

The woman was said to be about 5-foot-4 and weighed about 200 pounds. She had straight, shoulder-length brown hair, a multicolored low-cut dress that exposed a red tattoo on her left breast, Gunther said. The victims said the tattoo may have possibly had a name or other writing.

The suspects drove a green, newer model Chrysler four-door stationwagon, Gunther said.

Roseville Police Chief Mike Blair said, "These type of thefts are unfortunately common, especially in the spring. Often con artists gain access to residents' property by offering to do home repair work. Residents are reminded to never let strangers into their homes, and to call police immediately to report suspicious persons or suspicious activity."

Anyone with information on the couple or about the crime is urged to call Roseville police at (916) 774-5070 or the Roseville Crime Stoppers at (916) 783-7867. The Crime Stoppers program offers cash rewards that lead to an arrest, and the caller can remain anonymous.

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