ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A 93-year-old World War II veteran said men who claimed to be doing hurricane cleanup with the county tricked him and stole items from his home.
Orange County Sheriff's Office deputies said the case is one of several distraction burglaries reported in the last week.
Roy Benefield said he won’t get fooled again should the burglars ever come back and he had some tough words for the man accused of duping him.
“I’ve seen some low-down dogs, but you are it,” he said.
Benefield said a man came to his door claiming to work for the county.
“He said, ‘We’re going to be cutting down all the trees in the back because of the hurricane and we’re doing it for the county,’” said Benefield.
Benefield followed the man claiming to be a tree trimmer into his backyard.
While they looked up at the branches, Benefield said the man's partner in crime went inside and helped himself to his things.
“I looked through the screened porch out there and the guy was coming out my house. He had my $300 out of my wallet with him,” said Benefield.
He said the burglars also stole 15 of his collectible coins.
Deputies believes the pair has been targeting seniors in the so-called distraction burglaries.
They said it’s happened at least three times in the last week.
The other victims were an 81-year-old in the 16000 block of Bearle Road and an 83-year-old in Eastwood.
“They also pretend as if they're on the phone with the home office, getting directions, giving, maybe, the structure of the home, the layout of the backyard,” said Cpl. Stanley Murray of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
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