Con Artists Target Region 8 Elderly

March 9, 2005 – Posted at 3:52 p.m. CST

NEWPORT -- An Elderly Region 8 woman was the victim of what police officials call a door-to-door scam operation. Newport police officials are searching for two men and possibly a third in connection with a robbery at a residence.

It happened Tuesday when an 88-year-old woman answered her door.

"Two people came into her house, described as white males and had with them a long sheet of linoleum flooring that they showed to her, and at one point they actually held it up," said Detective Patrick Weatherford of the Newport Police Department.

That's when police believe a third person entered the woman's home behind the linoleum and robber her.

Her grandson Jerry Tharp says the thieves took her checkbook, some rare coins and several important papers. Her family says while she is still shaken up about the incident, they are thankful it wasn't worse.

"Con artists and scammers like to target the elderly. They think of the elderly as being an easier target, however the elderly are not necessarily the only target," said Weatherford, "Any person could be conned in a similar method."

While this crime targeted the elderly, Detective Weatherford says it's smart to be suspicious of door-to-door salespeople, regardless.

In this case, one of the thieves identified himself by the name of the woman's dead husband. Police say they're not sure if it's a coincidence or a targeted crime.

"The scammers who will tend to target the elderly. They will often say that they know the person, that they used to be their neighbor, that they lived down the street," said Weatherford, "Don't take the chance and allow these people into your house, whether you are elderly or not. Don't be too trusting of people."

Police officials are still searching for the suspects. They were last seen driving a white pickup truck. If you have any information, please call the Newport Police Department at (870) 523-2722.