CHICAGO (CBS) — An elderly couple from the McKinley Park neighborhood is out thousands of dollars’ worth of jewelry, including their wedding rings, after con men disguised as a construction crew targeted them in their own home.
CBS 2’s Jermont Terry is exposing the scam that got the crew of con men through the front door.READ MORE: Weekend Guests At Six Flags Great America Say Crowds, Closed Rides, Huge Fight Involving 20 People Ruined Their Experience
Doorbell camera video shows the crooks hightailing it just moments after ripping off the couple.
As the four guys jumped into a black pickup truck, 85-year-old John tried to scurry too the sidewalk, but too late.
“It’s heartbreaking; it really is,” said his daughter, Lynda Fuhrig. “It’s just sad that people are out preying on folks. It’s awful.”
When the pickup arrived outside their McKinley Park house, originally one guy got out, and approached Lynda’s 72-year-old mother, Sharon, telling her “I’m sorry to bother you.”
“They saw a crime of opportunity. I was outside trying to plant my Mother’s Day plants, because we finally had a break in the weather,” Sharon told CBS 2’s Jermont Terry in a phone interview.
That guy went on to tell Sharon there was a problem from a nearby construction crew.
“The guy hit a water main, and I think there’s chemicals, a problem about it, and we’ll have to check your water,” Sharon recalled the man telling her.READ MORE: Massive Chemical Plant Fire In Rockton, Illinois, Could Burn For Days
Concerned, the couple let him and a second guy from that pickup truck into their house, where John and Sharon headed to the basement; yet only one man came down with them.
The second guy circled back to the pickup, and two more men jumped out. All three entered the house.
“It’s devastating to realize there were four people in the house,” Lynda said.
What’s scarier, while in the basement, the elderly couple heard footsteps, but couldn’t get upstairs.
“He was a solid piece of concrete standing there, unable to let us pass. My husband pushed on him. He was very strong,” Sharon said. “We were very helpless in the basement.”
The crooks stole cash and $5,000 in jewelry; including John and Sharon’s wedding bands of 54 years. They took off in that black pickup, which had no license plates.
“My parents have worked hard to build their life in Chicago, and this is kind of a bad memory of living in the city,” Lynda said. “It’s scary, because it obviously could have turned into a really awful situation, much worse than what happened. They could have been hurt or even worse.”
The first con man kept John and Sharon in their basement for about 10 minutes while the rest of the crew ransacked the house. Thankfully, the couple was not hurt.MORE NEWS: Mayor Lori Lightfoot Backs Declaring Juneteenth An Official City Holiday Starting Next Year
Police said they are checking to see if the crew has targeted any other areas.