STURGIS, Mich. — Michigan State Police are looking for two suspects who took advantage of 90-year-old woman Saturday afternoon. They said she was at home alone on Nottawa Road when a man appeared at her door requesting to check her electricity.
“He told her they were doing work on the power lines in the area and that he needed to come in to check her junction box in her basement,” said Det. Sgt. Todd Petersen with the Michigan State Police. “So, she lets him in.”
Petersen said she noticed the man was speaking into his headsets and thought he was talking to his partner. While in the basement he had her flip a few switches on the junction box, testing the system.
“Then at one point he tells her ‘Hey I’ve got to go up and talk to my partner outside to see if there’s anything going on. Ill be right back down,’” said Petersen during an interview at the White Pigeon post. “She then waits about 5-10 minutes and starts to get suspicious. [She] goes up and realizes they’re gone."
Upstairs she saw a few pieces of furniture had been moved around, police said, but nothing alarming. An hour later, she checked her bedroom and and realized they’d stolen $2000 and jewelry worth the same amount.
“They target elderly people,” said Petersen. “They’re trusting and they think, well ‘He’s telling me he’s doing work on these power lines or something with the service of my house. So they they they trust him and allow him in.”
The woman told police that the suspect in her home was a white male who appeared to be 35-to-40 years old and between 5’6 and 5’9 in height.
“Unfortunately she wasn’t able to see anyone outside or be able to tell whether or not there was actually another person out there,” said Petersen. “She didn’t witness a car in her driveway or anything. So this person had been dropped off and possibly was communicating with him with the headsets.”
Petersen said these crimes happen more often than not. They’ve received reports of individuals knocking on people’s doors either selling something or asking to check a service in the home. Then, once inside, they steal whatever they can, leave and pawn it for money later. His advice to prevent this from happening: don’t let anyone into your home.
"You’ve got the ability to say 'Nope I don’t want you in my house,’” said Petersen. “If it’s actually something that is needed by a utility company or something, you’ll be contacted by someone telling them that you’re in the area. They’re not just going to stop by unannounced.”