An Oakland Park commissioner's quick thinking may have saved his elderly neighbor from getting scammed by two men pretending to be utility workers, authorities say.
Commissioner Tim Lonergan was at his home when he noticed two men wearing reflective vests and hard hats pull up to his 87-year-old neighbor Shirley's home in a black Mercedes, according to the Broward County Sheriff's office.
After she let one man in, the other waited outside and later followed through the open door. Suspecting something was wrong, Lonergan took pictures of the Mercedes and its license tag with his cell phone then went to check on Shirley, deputies said.
When he arrived at the house, he discovered the second man walking out of the bedroom as the first spoke to the woman in another area of the home. They claimed they were checking for leaks, but they were unable to produce identification and Lonergan didn't recognize them as city workers.
Faced with questions, the men left the property in the Mercedes.
But the photos Lonergan took have allowed authorities to identify the owner of the vehicle as 49-year-old Tom Bimbo of Pompano Beach.
"The best defense against reprehensible and despicable scam artists who target the elderly is alert relatives, friends and neighbors like Commissioner Lonergan," Sheriff Scott Israel said in a release.
For her part, Shirley said she started to get suspcious when the first man started asking her questions about two people being in the home and wondering whether she had company planned. She said she plans to be more cautious about allowing strangers in the house in the future.
Detectives are still looking for Bimbo and his alleged accomplice. Anyone with information can share anonymous tips by calling Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.