A 99-year-old Boca Raton woman who is partially blind and disabled is the latest victim of a brazen distraction theft.
And now Lucille Jacobs, who turns 100 in March, is reeling after the thieves pilfered her cash, clothing and jewelry. Among the loot was the anniversary band her late husband Marshall gave her on their 55th wedding anniversary.
"We went on a cruise and while we were on the cruise he gave me this beautiful ring," Jacobs said Monday. "I told my daughter, I said if they took everything but just gave me that ring back, I'd be happy".
Jacobs' ordeal began on July 12 at about 4:30 p.m. when she heard a knock at the door.
The elderly widow has lived in the same house near West Camino Real and Interstate 95 in Boca for 40 years. On the advice of her daughter, who also lives at the house, Jacobs never answers the door.
This time, however, the knocking and ringing of the doorbell wouldn't stop.
Jacobs struggled to the door and opened it slightly to see a woman dressed in maternity clothes.
"I said, 'may I help you?'" Jacobs recalled. "She said, 'this is Florida Power and Light and it's important that I talk to you."
The phony FPL worker then asked Jacobs if they could talk on the patio behind Jacobs' house. Jacobs locked the door and they spoke out back for about 20 minutes. The woman explained convincingly to Jacobs that FPL would be tearing down trees and laying wires underground to protect against outages caused by hurricanes.
"She was really really good, I mean as far as telling me all these things," Jacobs said. The "really nice" woman even aided Jacobs in walking and mentioned she was Cherokee and was looking forward to having a baby boy in October.
After the conversation, Jacobs went back into her house. Everything seemed normal—until she went into her bedroom. The missing pillow case was the first sign that something was wrong. Then she noticed that her dresser had been ransacked.
Jacobs described the imposter FPL woman as about 5-foot-3, 200 pounds, with a dark complexion and her hair pulled back. She was wearing maternity clothes and drove a beige car that had been parked in Jacobs' driveway. She didn't see anybody else.
Boca Raton Police are investigating. The culprits are still at large.
Heather Kirkendall, a spokesperson for Florida Power and Light, urged customers to visit fpl.com/fplprotect to see steps they can take to protect against such fraud.
Kirkendall also said that FPL workers never show up to a customer's home without first scheduling an appointment.
"It's actually not a practice of ours to come to your home without making an arrangement ahead of time," Kirkendall said.
Also, anybody who wants to verify the ID of an FPL worker should close the door and call FPL or ask to see the worker's ID card, Kirkendall said.
Copyright © 2012, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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