TAMARAC (CBSMiami) – The Broward Sheriff’s Office has a warning for citizens in Tamarac to be on the lookout for a man who posed as a utility worker and then stole thousands of dollars worth of jewelry from an elderly couple.
According to the BSO, the suspect knocked on the door in the 7400 block of NW 94th Avenue and told 91-year-old Mildred Saltzman he was there to test her water by spraying a substance in her toilets and sinks.
Mildred and her husband Abraham, 96, believed the man because Tamarac city workers were in the area one week before.
He was also wearing a hard hat and reflective vest and definitely looked like a utility worker.
Once inside the home, Abraham and the suspect went into the guest bathroom, but when Abraham turned on the sink, the suspect sprayed a liquid on Abraham’s arm and said it was acid. All three went to the master bathroom where the suspect said he would go get some treatment cream from his vehicle, but instead ran off with a box full of jewelry worth thousands of dollars.
In addition to the yellow hard hat and reflective vest, the man was wearing light-colored pants and spoke with an unknown accent.
Neighbors are upset and angry.
“I do feel for them. I’m scared to death when anyone knocks at my door now,” said neighbor Rosemarie Hughes.
Rosemarie’s husband, Gerry Hayes agreed saying, “I think it’s terrible. I ‘m 75 and in another 15 years they will be preying on me.”
Neighbor Nicole Sutton said Tamarac utility workers are frequently in the neighborhood.
“I see them on a weekly basis and they are usually right in my yard doing the work,” Sutton said. “They’ve knocked on the door and told me they would turning off the water and repairing a pipe.”
It’s not just Tamarac that is dealing with the elderly scam. In July, CBS4 reported on the story of Jean Drakoulis who was robbed of a jewelry by a couple posing as utility workers.
“He said to me, I’m from the Tamarac water company because your water, there’s something wrong,” Drakoulis said at the time.
BSO said the distraction crimes underscore why they started a campaign called “Slam the door on scammers.”
The BSO said if someone knocks on your door, you should follow these rules:
- Without opening the door, ask the person to identify him or herself
- Keep your door locked
- If the person claims to represent a utility, call the company
- Look through a peephole to obtain a description of the person knocking at your door
- If the person seems suspicious, call 911 immediately.
If you have any information about the identity of the suspect, call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477).
Sutton, who works with seniors, also had a message for the thief or thieves.
“Come here again and I swear you won’t make it off this block,” Sutton said.