An 89-year-old woman in Mahoning Township had $90,000 in cash stolen from her yesterday after what began as an apparent driveway sealing scam.
Mahoning Township Police Officer in Charge Audie Mertz said the incident happened in the vicinity of Route 443 in the western part of the township. He declined to be more specific because of the nature of the incident. The victim asked not to be identified.
According to Mertz, a newer model GMC work van pulled up to the woman's house and a man and a woman, both believed to be in their 40s, began doing unsolicited work on the woman's driveway.
He said they "pretended to seal coat the driveway," getting halfway done. This was done without the woman's permission, he said.
They then asked her if she wanted the rest of the driveway completed. Because half of it was done, she consented, and went into her house where she unlocked her safe to get funds to pay for the work.
Mertz said the operators told her that she didn't have to pay them immediately. The female then distracted the elderly woman, while the male went into the house and searched for valuables.
Inside the house, the male went through closets, drawers, and apparently visited every room before coming upon the safe where the woman kept her funds.
Mertz said the only description he has is that the male is about 5-9, had several days of unshaven growth on his face (no beard), black hair, and the hair on his face was graying.
The female had ear-length hair, but no color is available.
There was a compressor inside the van which was used on the driveway, Mertz said.
The incident happened between 2 and 5 p.m. Tuesday. It was reported to police at about 6 p.m.
Mertz asked that anyone with information should contact the Mahoning Police Department at (570) 386-2241.