Con artists steal safe valued at $30,000 from elderly woman in Santa Fe

February 1, 2013 7:48:16 AM PST
A Santa Fe grandmother wants you to know how she lost $30,000 and priceless family heirlooms so the same thing doesn't happen to you. Police are asking everyone to be on the lookout for the criminals who stole from her.

Santa Fe police say they have a pretty good description of the suspects and a possible vehicle -- an old maroon car -- and they hope to complete a sketch of the female suspect this week.

For 49 years, Elaine felt safe in her Santa Fe home. That changed Tuesday.

"They're picking on the elderly people," she said. "I'm scared at night."

A woman approached the victim's home and told her they were cutting trees for the utility company. The woman lured Elaine outside to the garage while she talked to a man she claimed was her boss on a radio device.

"I couldn't understand them. I think they were speaking Spanish," Elaine said.

The woman said she was going to get a brochure for Elaine to sign but never returned.

It wasn't until the next day the 77-year-old made the discovery. The spare bedroom closet where she stores her church clothes was ransacked.

"In 30 minutes it was all gone," she said.

A heavy safe from the floor was missing. She saw scrapes on the floor where the safe was dragged and footprints where a man had gone through her house. She'd been conned.

"You put it in a safe and you think it's safe," Elaine said.

Santa Fe police are investigating.

"This is new and we want to alert all of our citizens. We'd rather go out and check 10 things than miss one," Santa Fe Police Department Capt. Wayne Kessler said.

Police say the value in the safe is around $30,000 -- including the gold and silver coin sets her husband Kermit collected until the day he died.

For this grandmother it's a priceless loss, christening heirlooms that were to be passed down generations.

"Things like that, I just hate it's gone," Elaine said.

Elaine later learned the same woman tried to get her 85-year-old neighbor to come out of his house. He slammed the door in her face. She hopes the next person to slam the door on the thieves will be the police.

"I just hope it never happens to anyone else because it was terrible, I tell you," Elaine said.

Police say the suspects could face charges of felony theft and burglary of habitation.
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