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82-Year-Old Widow Victim Of Distraction Robbery In Sun Valley

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SUN VALLEY (CBS) — Doris Gardner is trusting and loving and … if you look up “nice” in the dictionary, her picture is probably there.

So who would ever…could ever…take advantage of or rob this 82-year-old widow?

According to police, two heartless crooks in particular.

Distraction robberies are on the rise. And police are asking residents to remain vigilant

Here’s how the sceme works, one person comes to your door and usually poses as an exterminator or maintenance worker or meter reader. While they get you distracted, sometimes outside your home looking at the grounds, someone else sneaks in and cleans you out.

That is exactly what happened to Gardner who was widowed about 10 years ago.

Gardner tells KCAL 9’s Rita Garcia (the KCAL 9 News at 10 p.m. and CBS 2 News at 11 p.m. Thursday) that she trusted a man who came to her door posing as an exterminator.  She really did have a bee problem, and the crooks duped her into buying their poison.

He told her she had to take her rings off — he told her the poison could make her hands swell up — and almost in an instant, her rings were gone. The suspect’s accomplice also rifled through her bedroom and stole cash, jewelry and keepsakes.

The thieves made off with her wedding rings, one belonging to her mother no less, and her last link to her late husband…gone.

Police released the following descriptions of the two suspects. The first, whom the victim allowed to enter her home, was a White male about 40 years old. He stood about 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighed approximately 300 pounds, said officials.

He was last seen wearing a white, long-sleeved shirt, tan pants and brown shoes. The second suspect was a Hispanic male about 30 years old who stood around 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighed approximately 130 pounds. He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt, black jeans, and black shoes.

Anyone with information regarding this crime is urged to call Foothill Division burglary detectives at (818) 834-3163. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls may be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).

Gardner tells Garcia that despite being ripped off…she still has love and forgiveness in her heart. She has something to tell the crooks. “If you’re watching and you feel it in your heart..that you wanna give my rings back…I won’t press charges.”

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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