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Home Repair Scam Artists Target Peekskill Residents

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PEEKSKILL, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Westchester County residents were issued a warning Wednesday, as scammers are on the prowl and preying on unwitting homeowners.

As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported, the scammers have been targeting residents of Peekskill, soliciting business at their homes.

The condition of Marge Suillvan’s driveway may have given the scammer an idea. But the 93-year-old Peekskill resident was not fooled by the man who knocked on her door.

“He wanted to do my driveway; blacktop my driveway,” Sullivan said. “I said. ‘Do you know what month this is? This is January!’ I said, ‘You do that in the spring.’”

Down the block from Sullivan’s house, it was a different scam attempt – new windows at bargain prices. The would-be seller is always described as persistent and charming.

“Late 20s maybe, but clean-cut; well-dressed,” said Peekskill resident Lee Croft. “Extremely pleasant; nice tone of voice; nice speaking voice.”

There are various descriptions of the offenders and a variety if pitches, but police said the intent has been the same — theft through scam or burglary. Anyone who is contacted by would-be scam artists has been asked to call police immediately.

“Anyone that comes to your home looking to solicit business, they should have a permit issued by the city,” said Peekskill police Chief Eric Johansen. “We do background investigations before we issue that permit. Challenge them.”

It has happened in Peekskill before. Back in November, CBS 2 reported on a family trio accused of bilking a day care center out of money for a fake roof repair.

Police said the father-son team of Anthony and Geno Delmaro — along with Anthony Delmaro’s new wife, Ruby Stevenson – was wanted in a years-long spree that began when Geno Delmaro was still a minor.

Victims told CBS 2 the alleged scammers arrested in November contacted them by unsolicited fax-flyers for various roofing companies. They would show up seemingly competent and pleasant, and the amounts they charged would vary, but the story always ends the same way.

“He told me it was going to be $850, and he says, ‘So I need money to get the material, so I was trying to get this out of my way, so I gave him $700,” said scam victim Joan King. “(He went to) go get the material, but he never came back.”

And now, police said other scam artists have been back with a variation on the same theme.

“They tried my grandma’s house here, and across the street, her neighbor,” said Casey Sullivan of Peekskill.

“It is creepy, because they come out of nowhere,” added Alex DiNota of Peekskill. “There’s no van or company car that shows they’re coming from a specific company. They just ring the doorbell.”

The latest complaints are concentrated in upper Westchester County, but last time, a pattern developed where victims surfaced from Westchester to Long Island, Connecticut and beyond.

The most recent complaint came in two days ago. Police fear the cleanup from the snowstorm Tuesday may prompt a new set of scam attempts.

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