BELLPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Police have arrested two men who they say pretended to be chimney cleaners and burglarized the home of a 92-year-old Long Island woman.
The victim let Bruce Wimmer, 32, of Bohemia, and Michael Windland, 28, of Lake Ronkonkoma, into her Bellport home to inspect her chimney Saturday, police said.
One of the men distracted the victim while the other stole $130 from church envelopes and $35 from bank envelopes, police said. They also stole prescription drugs, police said.
“I just feel so overwhelmed that they could take advantage of older people,” the victim, whose first name is Violet, told CBS 2’s John Slattery.
The suspects then tried to convince the woman to pay them $3,000 for unnecessary chimney work, police said.
She suggested she get the money Monday.
“I said, ‘But you’ll have to take me to the bank to get the money if you want cash,” Violet said. “I don’t have that kind of money in the house.'”
The men made arrangements to do the work on a later date and left, police said.
“When they left, I noticed that something wasn’t right,” the victim told reporters, including 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.
The woman checked the phone book, and when she couldn’t find the name of the company that the men said they worked for, New York Fuel, she called police.
“They want money,” the victim said. “They’re like a dragon pulling out their claws.”
Both men were arrested on charges of second-degree burglary. Windland also faces a drug-possession charge.
Both men are convicted felons, police said.
Suffolk County Chief of Detectives William Madigan thinks Violet wasn’t the duo’s only victim.
“They may have conducted this scam or scams similar to it in Queens, and in Nassau and in Suffolk,” Madigan said.
Police are asking other potential victims of the alleged scam to come forward and call Fifth Squad detectives at 631-854-8552.
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