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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The search is on for a pair of thieves who preyed on an elderly woman and swindled her out of $17,000.

Miami police say the duo, a man and a woman, tricked 86-year-old Ana Del Rio into thinking they had a winning lottery ticket.

“I feel traumatized,” Del Rio told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench. “I never felt that anybody would so something like this to me. They scammed me. This is a person who has no scruples to do this with elderly people.”

It all happened Monday, October 23. Del Rio was parked at a Big Lots department store located at 2100 SW 27th Avenue when a man who said he had a winning lottery ticket and showed it to her approached her.

“He asked me when I was getting out of the car if there was a place where he could cash a lottery ticket and then another woman stepped up,” she recalled.

He said because of his immigration status, he could not cash the ticket but he knew a business that would if he gave them some cash up front.  In exchange, they said, she could share some of the money.

So Del Rio took them to her home.

“I went to my house and gave her $2,000. She said she needed more money and why don’t you take us to the bank for more money.”

She did. There is surveillance video of Del Rio walking inside a Bank of America where she withdraw $15,000.

Once she gave them the money, the man told her he wasn’t feeling well and asked her to go into a store to buy medicine. When she went inside, the thieves vanished and so did her 17-thousand dollars.

Now she has a warning to others.

“I recommend all people take care of themselves. They are very savvy to make you feel they need your help and anyone who is softhearted like myself will cooperate very easily. Be careful. These people will abuse you.”

Del Rio says they also stole four watches from her home belonging to her son.

“My opinion is these people should be arrested so they will not do it again.

Del Rio says nothing like this has ever happened to her before. She turns 87 years old on Tuesday and the best birthday present she could receive is a break in this case.

If you can help, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305 471-TIPS.


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