Local News

S.C. men wanted in theft from elderly Wayne woman

Posted April 21, 2011 10:37 a.m. EDT

— The Wayne County Sheriff's Office was searching Thursday for three South Carolina men accused of stealing from an 86-year-old woman.

Jimmy Gerald Riley, 53, Tommy Joseph Mack, 24, and Michael Joseph O'Hara, 33, are wanted on charges of breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering and possession of stolen goods. They all live with an Irish Travelers community in Aiken, S.C.

Maj. Tom Effler said two men came to victim's house in Rosewood on April 7 and claimed to be selling vinyl flooring. While the pair talked to her, a third man sneaked into her house and stole a safe, which had a large amount of cash in it, he said.

Such scams are more common than most people think, warned Sheriff Casey A. Winders.

"I want would like to caution the public that it is a commonly used practice to attempt to distract a person so that another person can steal or search for something to steal," Winders said in a statement.

"Be cautious of anyone coming to your residence, especially selling something that is not usually sold door to door," he said. "Some are legitimate, but do not hesitate to call law enforcement if anything looks out of the ordinary."

A South Carolina Law Enforcement Division agent helped identify the suspects after seeing pictures of them broadcast on the local news, Effler said.

Riley has four felony convictions in Wake and Yancey counties, including obtaining property by false pretenses and breaking and entering, according to state Department of Correction records.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Riley, Mack or O'Hara is asked to call Detective Rick Farfour at 919-731-1497, the Wayne County Sheriff's Office at 919-731-1481 or Wayne County Crime Stoppers at 919-735-2255.