UPDATE: Police Warn of Yard Work Scam in Charleston

By: Rahel Solomon, Jeremy Edwards Email
By: Rahel Solomon, Jeremy Edwards Email

UPDATE 4/5/13 @ 6:30 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The warm weather is attracting unwanted guests for neighbors in the South Hills area of Charleston.

Police say during the last few weeks, strangers have been knocking on doors along Louden Heights Road and offering to do yard work or claiming to sell magazines.

In some cases, the suspects are agreeing to do yard work for a set price then returning and forcing homeowners to pay more money.

In other cases, the suspects say they’re selling magazines but insist on entering the home.

“They're using forceful tactics to gain their way in houses,” Charleston Police Lt. Shawn Williams said.

Once inside the home, police say one person distracts the victim while the other steals wallets and small items inside the house.

Ruth Peyton said she believes she was almost a target when a woman recently knocked on her door claiming to sell items.

“She was giving the impression that she wanted to come in the house,” Peyton said.

Peyton, who explained the woman was not let inside, said she is upset that people can be so dishonest.

“Whether they want to rob you or do whatever else, I still can't quite take it in,” Peyton said.

Authorities say the suspects are a diverse group of five or six people, including men and women of all ages; however, the group targets a specific group.

“A lot of it is during the daylight hours, you know retired people, the elderly," Williams said. "They're very susceptible to this type of activity.”

Several arrests have been made in connection with the scam but officials say they believe more suspects are still free. They are urging neighbors in South Hills to take precautions to protect themselves from this type of crime.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Police are warning neighbors in the South Hills area of Charleston about a possible yard work scam.

Police say most of the reports have come from the neighborhoods around Holz Elementary and Louden Heights Road.

Police say the suspects are approaching people and asking to perform yard work or small jobs for an agreed upon price.

After the work is done, the suspects use pressure to get more money than was agreed.

In some cases the suspects have been allowed inside homes. Victims quickly discover that items are missing once the suspects have left their home.

Police say neighbors should be cautious of anyone soliciting any type of work or selling items and you should never allow anyone you don't know into your home.

If you have any information about the case you are asked to call the Community Services Division of the Charleston Police Department at 304-348-6470.

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