Crooks posing as tree-trimmers ransack Volusia woman's home

Deputies say seniors targeted for 'distraction thefts'

A woman who was too scared to go on camera told News 6 that after a pair of crooks left her home, she called the Volusia County Sheriff's Office to ask if there was a scheme involving a tree trimming service.

The woman said the deputies told her "no" and after she found money was missing from her home, she called them right back.

"I always say, I'm old but I'm not stupid. But I guess I was stupid," said the woman on a call to dispatch.

Deputies said the tree trimming scheme happened Tuesday afternoon, while the 73-year-old woman unloaded groceries from her car.

"Someone pulled in behind my car and I was wondering who it was. Then this lady came and she said, she noticed all the trees in my backyard and they were cutting trees down below," she said.

That's when the victim walked with the woman to her backyard. Deputies said it was a distraction so the driver could ransack the unlocked house.

"She got a phone call, because she was trying to figure out if we should cut something, then she hurried up the hill. I said, well wait, I don't even know how much it is. She said, we'll be back on Friday. I tried to flag them in, but they were in a hurry to back out and now I know why," said the woman.

The woman told deputies the pair took off down the street in a dark-colored SUV and said she didn't realize the scheme until she noticed her money was gone.

"I went into my bedroom and I noticed something was out of order. And here, while the person was talking to me, the other person went in the house and robbed me," she said.

The sheriff's office said it is called a distraction theft and said seniors are the most targeted. Investigators said you should ask for an identification card, stay alert and be suspicious. If you're unsure of their intentions, call law enforcement.

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