CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. - ONLY ON WINK. Charlotte County deputies say a woman who posed as a utility worker lured a 95-year old woman outside, even asked for her prayers. All the while someone else was inside the house, preying on her.
It's called a "distraction burglary."
The elderly victim says the woman at her door was very convincing, and seemed legitimate. She didn't find out until after the woman left, that she was tricked, and now her precious belongings are gone.
The Charlotte County homeowner, who doesn't want to be identified, says a woman who called herself "Lisa" approached the home.
"She said they were installing underground wiring here and she wanted to see me in the backward to show me where they were going to dig," the victim said.
But the 95-year-old victim found out, too little, too late. It was all a distraction.
"She gave me a sob story that her husband died recently and the tears were streaming down her face. And she asked me to pray for her out in the backyard, so I prayed for her," she said.
"And all the while someone was going through the house?" asked reporter Rachael Rafanelli.
"In here. Someone bad was in here. Robbing me," she said.
The woman then jumped into a car, possibly with two other suspects, and drove away.
The Charlotte County Sheriff's office says this is a distraction burglary. Criminals will canvass a neighborhood, and knock on your door, saying they need do repairs or an evaluation outside.
Your natural instinct is to walk out of your house, and leave the front door unlocked, making it easy for someone else to slip inside. The best way to tell if someone is legitimate or not, and protect yourself is to ask for identification.
"I asked her for identification, she didn't have any but said it will be alright. Don't let anybody give anything for you if they dont have identification," said the woman.
The sheriffs's office says these criminals will prey on people who are trusting, often times elderly, and are home during the day. And unfortunately, these crimes are on the rise.
The sheriff's office says other agencies started getting alerts about an increase in distraction burglaries about a month ago, and believes those crimes will increase in southwest Florida, especially as we see our seasonal residents moving back.
"You're going to have more people who are potential victims, so that's where they are going to come," said Charlotte County Sheriff spokeswoman Debbie Bowe.
If you decide to go outside with the person at your door, mke sure you lock it, so no one can get in your house. If you think someone is being suspicious, it's ok to call 911.