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Madison Heights

November 26, 2013

Conman tricks senior over a cup of coffee

Police believe this suspect has struck before

By Andy Kozlowski
C & G Staff Writer

MADISON HEIGHTS — Exploiting the trust of the older generation, a conman reportedly made off with an elderly resident’s purse after talking for nearly an hour over coffee.

The incident occurred in the 1500 block of Jenifer around 1:45 p.m. Nov. 13. The suspect is described as a white man around 65-70 years old, about 180-200 pounds, and clean-shaven with gray hair. He was wearing a black windbreaker and dark pants, witnesses told police, and he walked with a forward lean. 

The suspect knocked at the door of an 83-year-old resident, who answered to find him standing there with a package UPS had just delivered to the residence.

He identified himself as “Larry” and claimed he lived in the neighborhood. He then invited himself into the home for coffee. The resident and the suspect talked for about 45 minutes while drinking coffee, and then the suspect asked if he could use the bathroom.

When he returned, he lingered in the dining area where the victim keeps her purse, and claimed he was merely looking in the backyard. The resident asked him to leave so she could accomplish her day’s errands. The suspect asked for more coffee, but the resident gave him a glass of water and asked him to leave instead.

As the suspect left through the front door, he picked up a black garbage bag on the front porch. Afterward, the victim noticed her purse was missing, which had her wallet inside.

A neighbor saw the same man that day. She observed him leaving the passenger side of a newer model black Chevrolet Suburban just before visiting the resident.

Police said they believe the same man was involved in an incident that occurred in the 26000 block of Brettonwoods between May 20 and May 23. The victim, an 84-year-old Madison Heights man, reported the incident after the fact. An individual matching the suspect’s description visited him sometime between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., claiming he knew the victim and using this familiarity to get into the home. The two men talked for about an hour, and after the suspect left, the victim noticed about $400 was missing from a dresser drawer.

“Unless you are certain that you know that person, and that they have some legitimate business or reason to be in your home, I wouldn’t let them in your home,” said Madison Heights Deputy Police Chief Corey Haines. “In these two cases, the suspect was able to get into the house, and that’s how they took advantage of the victims. So don’t let them in if you don’t know them or their purpose. And if you think it’s suspicious, don’t hesitate to call police.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Andy Kozlowski at akozlowski@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1104.