Two men stole some $75,000 worth of gold and diamond jewelry from an 88-year-old Pompano Beach woman by distracting her in her apartment, authorities said.
The woman answered a knock at her door in a high-rise condo building on the 3000 block of North Course Drive on Halloween at about 2:30 p.m. She found two workers wearing matching uniforms who said they were checking for leaks in the building, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said.
The victim, who wants to conceal her identity, earlier saw one of the same men on his cell phone in the lobby, and said she heard him discussing leaks while they were in the elevator.
So she let the men in – and they tricked her with a “distraction theft,” the BSO said.
While one man walked into the kitchen and asked the woman to empty a cabinet so he could check for leaks, his partner walked around the home, pretending to look for leaks, according to the BSO. He found her hidden stash of jewelry in a spare bedroom, the agency said.
"When they finished they said you're fortunate there weren't any leaks. We didn’t find any,” the victim recalled.
A few hours later she realized she'd been had, the BSO said.
Besides the gold and diamond jewelry, the suspects took the woman’s engagement ring, given to her 65 years ago by her husband, who passed away in 1982. They also stole some cash, and heirlooms belong to her mother and grandmother.
The woman said the items had "tremendous sentimental value."
“And what bothers me too is that my grandchildren won't get it – it won't be passed down," she said.
Detectives released surveillance video that shows the two suspects together on the day of the theft.
There have been a handful of similar distraction thefts in Pompano Beach, BSO Det. Tim Bush said.
"What I kept doing is beating myself up – how could I have been so foolish," the victim said. "I'm not a stupid woman, I have three master’s degrees, I was the chairman of a department. I knew better than that."
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