Local News

Men offer to sell carpet, steal from elderly women

Posted August 7, 2008 5:41 p.m. EDT
Updated August 7, 2008 8:52 p.m. EDT

— Scammers posing as carpet salesmen and entrepreneurs stole money and prescription drugs from three elderly women in the Triangle this week, law enforcement says.

On Monday, a 71-year-old Raleigh woman says that three men knocked on her door, claimed that she knew them from delivering papers and said they were starting up a business selling carpet. They asked her for water but then took $30 from her purse, along with medications.

Also on Monday, two men showed up on the doorstep of an 84-year-old Garner woman and offered to sell her a rug one was carrying, according to a police report. They asked her for a drink of water and followed her to the kitchen. Then, they took $300 in cash, a  jar with $100 in coins and nearly $1,000 in prescriptions.

And on Wednesday, Hazel Wood, who turns 91 next week, believes the same schemers came to her Angier home.

Two men carrying a large roll of carpet knocked on the back door to her kitchen, she said. Wood unlocked the door so she could hear them but did not invite them inside.

"He was selling carpet and different things, and he would like to show me something," Wood recalled. "I said, 'Well, son, I do not need any carpet.'"

Despite Wood's refusal, the men pushed their way into her kitchen and asked for water, she said. Wood gave it to them, and then they left.

Wood said she then noticed a money envelope that had been in the bottom of her purse was sticking out of the top. She realized the men had gone into her purse while her back was turned, pouring the water. They made off with $600 she had just cashed at the bank.

"And he said, 'Best of luck.' Weren't that nice?" Wood said.

All three victims told law enforcement that the robbers were white men between 20 and 30 years old. Police and the Raleigh woman said the men drove away in black pickup truck.

Wood said the men who robbed her could have easily killed her and she wants her frightening experience to send a message.

"I have been blessed to live this long, and I don't want anybody, especially an older person, to be hurt like I been hurt," Wood said.