Scams Targeting the Elderly

WBCA received today (February 13) the information noted below, forwarded from the Neighborhood Watch for the nearby Burning Tree community in Bethesda. We note this information, not only because of the specific concern it raises, but also in light of the tragic homicide in our area last September. Regarding that crime, the man charged with the Havenstein murder and three other home invasions (targeting seniors) is scheduled for trial in May. And, finally, regarding an unrelated item but one of obvious concern in our community, the raccoon that bit a child in our neighborhood recently did test positive for rabies – so do remain alert for other suspicious raccoons, foxes, etc.!

Police Investigate a Series of Diversion Scams Targeting Elderly Couples

Detectives from three District Investigative Sections are investigating three incidents of theft diversion scams targeting elderly couples in Gaithersburg, Rockville, and Bethesda. Detectives believe they may be related and committed by the same group of suspects.

In all three incidents, a suspect is dressed in a dark blue uniform and claims to be a government employee. In two of the incidents, he told the victims that their neighbor’s home had a flood and he would need the victims to accompany him to the basement of the home to inspect their water pipes. While the suspect and the victims are in the basement, two additional suspects enter the home and search for cash to steal. In the third incident, the suspect again claimed that a neighbor had a flood, but he wanted to check the water pressure in the victim’s home.

The first two incidents described above occurred on February 3 within an hour of each other. The first incident occurred at approximately 4:30 p.m. in the 1900 block of Stanley Avenue in Rockville. This incident involved an 85-year-old female victim and a 99-year-old male victim. The second incident occurred at approximately 5:00 p.m. in the 4400 block of West Virginia Avenue in Bethesda. This incident involved an 83-year-old female victim and a 90-year-old male victim. The third incident occurred on February 9 at approximately 12:00 p.m. in the 16600 block of South Westland Avenue in Gaithersburg. This incident involved a 72-year-old female victim and an 80-year-old male victim.

The first suspect is described as a Hispanic male, in his 30’s, 5’6″ to 5’8″ tall, with a thin build, and short black hair. He is wearing a dark blue shirt and dark blue pants. He is wearing what appears to be a yellow name badge with a picture. The second suspect is described as a Hispanic male, in his 30’s, with a medium build, and short black hair. He is wearing dark blue clothing. The third suspect is described as white male, in his 50’s, with a heavy build, and gray hair.

Anyone who has information about the thefts and/or the suspects is asked to call the 5th/6th District Investigative Section at 240-773-6237. Callers may remain anonymous.

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