Fake Plumber Preys on Elderly W. Village Lady, Cops Say

Surveillance video reveals three men were involved in robbery scheme

By Katy Tur
|  Friday, Feb 18, 2011  |  Updated 8:00 AM EDT
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Police are searching for an elderly woman who was robbed by three men in the <a title=West Village" />

Police are searching for an elderly woman who was robbed by three men in the West Village

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Police say they are looking for three men, wanted for allegedly preying on an unsuspecting 80-year-old-woman in the West Village.

The victim, who didn’t want her face or name revealed, says a man wearing a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball cap came up to her on the street and claimed the building super sent him to fix a water issue.

Coincidentally, the victim, a more than two decade-long resident of the Village, did have a plumbing issue. What she didn’t expect was to find her jewelry, bracelets and necklaces – gifts from her deceased mother -- to vanish once the man finished checking her bathroom.

The victim never knew there were two other men inside her apartment while the alleged plumber was there, and it wasn’t until the landlord and police checked surveillance video that they figured out exactly what happened.

Police believe two other men snuck into the apartment behind the alleged “plumber,” quietly canvassing her one-bedroom while their alleged accomplice distracted the woman in the bathroom.

“If someone has a slightly honest look to them and [the resident is] reasonably trusting it would be very easy,” argued West Village resident, Mike Bennett.

Still, others in this upscale neighborhood warn that a degree of constant vigilance is never a bad idea.

“I think we all who live in New York learn that you have to have your guard up and be careful no matter where you live,” said Lance Williams.

As for the victim, she says she isn’t worried about the neighborhood so much as she fears someone else may fall for the same scam.
 

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