Daytona Beach police warn of thieves targeting elderly

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Daytona Beach police are warning residents, especially the elderly, about a new group of thieves along Peninsula Drive.

Police said they have three nearly identical cases where a person posing as a neighbor's hired hand pulls off a theft scheme that always targets an elderly person.

"They're obviously targeting the elderly right now, because they're not going to the neighbors to the right or the left. They're knocking specific doors," said an investigator with the Daytona Beach Police Department.

According to investigators, one man takes the homeowner to the backyard and explains how he'll be ripping down fences and taking out trees. At the same time, another group of men walks in through the homeowner's front door.

"They're not trying to sell you anything. They're trying to show you what they're doing next door and how it's going to impact you," said the investigator.

In one case, a neighbor became suspicious and nearly interrupted the scam, but decided not to interrupt the backyard discussion, investigators said.

Detectives said residents should beware of the men.

According to investigators the men spoke to each other in Spanish during the thefts.

"It just makes me sad that they would pick on elderly people," said Daytona Beach resident Dana Baggett. "Lots of people fall for scams because the people talking to them are so convincing."

Police said the men have been seen driving a new SUV or a station wagon.

They said they are trying to determine if the vehicles are rentals.