POWHATAN, VA (WWBT) - Authorities are warning residents in Powhatan after con artists robbed an elderly couple while they were inside their own home. It happened on Old Buckingham Road just west of the courthouse. No one was hurt, but the Sheriff's Office says the thieves preyed on these people and tricked them to earn trust.
This could have happened to anyone's parents or grandparents, who are in an elderly population that may not be as skeptical as they should be. These con artists made the homeowner believe she knew them and then robbed the couple blind.
The scammers did their homework. Authorities say they called the elderly woman who answered the door by her first name, knew her husband's name and that he had health problems. They seemed to know everything about them.
So, thinking she may have forgotten a name or face over the years, she let the two men into her home. Turns out they were complete strangers, preying on a more vulnerable, trusting population.
"It's heartbreaking for these people that this is going on," said Powhatan Detective Jason Trackett.
But, some bells started to go off when one of the men said he was in the carpet business and brought in some samples. One of those pieces was large enough to block the couple's view of the rest of their home.
"She thought it was very strange. At that point she didn't know if maybe she didn't know them," said Trackett.
We're told at that same time, the man's partner in crime was rummaging through the house, stealing a substantial amount of cash. The incident is striking fear in the hearts of residents in this rural neighborhood.
"They could do anything to those people. They don't have mercy on nobody now," said Ann Baker, who cares for another elderly couple in the area.
Homes we visited had unlocked, or even open doors. Residents said "just come on in." After hearing this story though, law enforcement is asking people to change their habits.
"Gonna try to keep our doors locked a little bit more and not let nobody in unless we know them. If we don't know them, they're not coming in the house," said Robert Wiley, who lives on the same street.
The victims were unable to get a license plate number but the Sheriff's Office is looking for a newer model, black, standard size pickup truck in this case. If you have any information call the Powhatan Detectives Division at 598-5654.