STUART, Va. — Two recent crimes in Patrick County have led to senior citizens being the victims of fraud, break-ins and the theft of money and jewelry.
In each case, an adult white male has knocked on the front door and spoken with a female resident who was home alone.
The man advised that he was planning to buy land adjoining her property, and asked the woman to show him the boundary line. The man pretended to be nice and polite and gained the prospective victims’ confidence. In both cases, the homeowner went behind the house with the man and showed him the property line.
Meanwhile, an accomplice entered each home through the front door and disabled the telephones by pulling the wires out of the wall. In one incident, the accomplice stole a large sum of money from a woman’s purse, and in the other jewelry was taken from the house.
After talking for a few minutes, the man who made contact with the female victims thanked them, got into his vehicle and drove away. The crimes were discovered after the suspects left.
The identities and addresses of those victimized have not been released.
“There are few leads at this time,” Deputy Brian Hubbard of the Patrick County Sheriff’s Office stated in a news release.
“In one incident, the man making contact with the women was described to be in his late-20s, having black hair and driving a gray pickup truck. In the other incident, the perpetrator was reported as being in his 30s or 40s, having freckles, a red complexion, medium height, a slender build and was driving a beige or light-tan pickup truck with red numbers on the rear tag.”
Hubbard added that “these men are smooth talkers, which make them seem like they are trying to help you out or be your friend. They are targeting the elderly, and the sheriff’s office wants to make our public aware of the situation. We want to stop these crimes before they happen. With the public’s help and by taking a few precautionary measures, they can be stopped.”
The Patrick officer supplied some preventative tips.
“First, never let someone you don’t know, or you haven’t called and asked to come to your home, enter your home. Keep your doors and windows locked. Don’t unlock your door and don’t open your door to a stranger. If a stranger is at your door or something just doesn’t feel right, call 911,” Hubbard said.
“After calling 911, if possible without endangering yourself, try to get a good vehicle description and tag number, and as detailed a description of the stranger as possible.” Hubbard suggests writing down this information in a timely manner while it is fresh on one’s mind.
A deputy will respond to each incident, he said.
“By calling 911 you might prevent a crime, and perhaps your call will lead to important information that can solve past crimes,” Hubbard said. “If you are not a senior citizen, please tell the seniors that you know about these crimes and what they should do if a stranger appears at their door.”
Anyone with information about the scam is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 276-694-5000 or the Patrick Sheriff’s Office at 276-694-3161 and ask for Deputy Brian Hubbard or an investigator.