GREENLAWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A man and woman were charged with a hate crime Tuesday for allegedly tricking an elderly woman on Long Island into letting them into her apartment and stealing items.

Suffolk County Police Second Precinct officers were called around 1:30 p.m. Monday, after the two suspects allegedly got into the woman’s apartment in Paumanack Village complex in Greenlawn by claiming to be collecting donations for a church.

Detective Sgt. James Brierton told WCBS 880 Wednesday that after the suspects left, the woman noticed some of her belongings were missing and called 911. When police arrived, Brierton said officers saw the suspects walking around the neighborhood reportedly attempting to gain access to more victims’ homes.

Suffolk County officers Frank Muoio and Todd Regan found the suspects – Heather Marchese, 23 and Sean DiStefano, 24 – within the apartment complex, police said. Marchese, who is homeless, and DiStefano, of Shoreham, were charged with second-degree burglary as a hate crime, police said.

Marchese was also charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and possession of a hypodermic instrument, police said.

Police detectives believe there may be other victims, and the suspects targeted elderly residents, police said.

Anyone who believes they may have been victimized by the suspects was asked to call the Suffolk County police Hate Crimes Unit at (631) 852-6323.


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