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Trio of Men Distract Elderly Grosse Pointe Woods Couple, Steal Jewelry

Grosse Pointe Woods police are asking anyone with information about this scam or any suspicious circumstances to call 313-343-2400.

police are investigating the theft of jewelry from an elderly couple on Elford Court in which three men tricked the homeowners through distraction and stole their valuables. 

According to an alert issued by Grosse Pointe Woods Public Safety Department, one of the three men approached a home, knocked on the door and told the woman he needed to check her water pressure. She declined to allow him inside initially.

As she was talking with the first man at her doorstep, her husband arrived home from the grocery store and another man whom she believed was working with the first man started talking to her husband—ultimately leading her to change her mind. 

She allowed him to come in. He entered the kitchen, turned on the faucet and then told her it would take several minutes, urging her to return to her television show in the living room. Meanwhile, the other man talked her husband about tree roots and the pair went into the backyard to look at some of the resident's tree roots. 

While the first man was in the house with the water running in the kitchen, another man entered the house and was told to check the pressure in the bathroom. Within a few minutes, the woman became suspicious and went to check on the men. She found both of them exiting her bedroom. 

The men thanked her for her time and left the home. She then went into her bedroom and discovered the jewelry was gone, according to the alert. 

The men drove away from the house in a light colored van with an initially estimated value of approximately $15,000 in jewelry. The residents are still compiling a list of missing items.

Police are asking for anyone with information to call the department at 313-343-2400. They also note that the men did not provide any type of identification to the residents and originally labeled the crime as a "possible gypsy scam"—referring to traveling scam artists who target a specific area to steal. They later removed the label, indicating the men may not be traveling.

Detective Sgt. Raymond Yonkowski said there are a few leads being investigated. The crime suggests the men had some sort of previous knowledge of what type of valuables were in the home and detectives are looking into how they may have obtained that knowledge. 

The couple's son believes the men may have had something to do with a home repair crew that did work on the house a few months back, but Yonkowski said the long turn-around time would be highly unusual in that scenerio. 

The men were described as in their 30s. One was about 5-foot-11 with a medium build and wore dark clothes. Another was 6-foot-2 with a heavy build and wore dark work clothes. The third was 5-foot-9 with a thin build, a beard and wore a tan work coat. 

In the meantime, Yonkowski said residents should ask for identification of any person approaching their home and representing themselves as a worker. If a resident is still unsure of the legitimacy of a worker even with their identification, Yonkowski said call the police. 

Lisa Pinkos Howle November 23, 2011 at 11:12 PM
Is it time to stop all door-to-door solicitation yet?

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