NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Police are searching for a couple of smooth talking thieves who have been posing as repairmen to rob elderly homeowners in the Bronx.
Two men showed up at the Morris Park home of Vito and Elide D’Erasmo saying they were from the water company. Vito said he let the men in because a plumber had just the day before been unable to solve a drain problem at their home.
“This guy comes to me and says ‘are you the owner?’ I said yes. ‘I understand we have a problem with the water,'” Vito D’Erasmo told CBS 2’s Steve Langford.
The D’Erasmos describe the suspects as very polite and very nice. The pair also seemed to know what they were doing to make the scam believable, asking this retired couple to run the water in the kitchen and the bathroom.
“So me, like a jerk, I’m standing by the sink opening and closing the water while he’s searching to find things,” Elide D’Erasmo told Langford.
The suspects knew where to go, since they’d already asked the D’Erasmos for $100 to cover a part they said they had to install.
“He went exactly where I got the money and he took it,” Elide said. “$800 plus the $100 I gave him.”
The suspects also made off with some jewelry, Langford reported.
“Then I got kind of scared like what am I going to tell him, if he’s got a gun he’s going to kill me,” said Vito.
The couple said they felt relief and embarrassment when the suspects finally left their home.
“I can’t believe I fell for it but I did” said Elide.
The human reflex to answer the door is a hard one to break, Langford reported. More than one victim in this crime spree opened up when he knocked.
A Pelham Gardens resident who did not want to give his name said two suspects who knocked on his door claimed that had to fix a neighbor’s fence.
“He had his talkie walkie-talkie, says to come in with the tape measure and paperwork so he could measure everything, very convincing,” the man told Langford.
The suspect identified in that incident is described as a white or Hispanic male, 25-35 years, 5’10” and 170 pounds according to police.
One of the suspects got in the house and grabbed $400 before the pair jumped in a pickup truck and ran, the man told Langford.
“They did a U-Turn flew, flew. A zillion miles an hour,” the victim told Langford.
Police have released a sketch of one of the suspects and continue to investigate.
According to police, the pair are wanted for two burglaries and a robbery. The third incident also involved the men posing as water company workers. All three incidents occurred on Jan. 9 and 10.
At no time did the suspects display identification or an official uniform, according to police.
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