A ‘HIGHLY plausible conman’ that has targeted elderly people in West Cork and around the county has been identified this week.
‘Investigations are ongoing and we are confident that it will come to a successful and definite conclusion,’ said Cork West Chief Supt Con Cadogan.
Gardaí had issued a warning about the conman who was calling to elderly people living on their own and pretending to be an Eir employee and then stealing large sums of cash.
Gardaí in Bantry and Skibbereen have begun investigations after two elderly men had money stolen from them in similar circumstances. The thief posed as an Eir employee, pretending to have found cash outside their house and asking them to check in case they had lost any cash. When they produced the cash, he then took it, and made off with the money.
The first incident occurred in Ballylickey near Bantry on February 8th and the second one happened in Skibbereen on February 9th.
Gardaí are trying to establish if these thefts are linked to a series of other thefts where a man matching a similar description (5ft 9”-5ft 11” and of stocky build) posed as a garda detective, asking people about their personal security.
Gardai believe the same man struck on February 3rd in Mitchelstown, calling to the home of an elderly man outside the town and again presenting his fake garda business card and making off with several hundreds of euros in cash on the pretence of taking to his car to mark it in the event of theft.
According to garda sources, the man usually introduces himself to the pensioner as a detective and presents a fake business card with a garda logo on it. He then says he wants to check on their personal security and asks if they keep any money in the house. He says he has a machine in his car to check if the money has been stolen. He then drives off with the cash.
‘This man is highly plausible – he dresses well and is very calm and patient with his victims – it’s obviously hugely distressing for them. But the one thing we can say is that he is never violent and never uses the threat of violence,’ said a garda spokesman.
‘Obviously we would urge people living on their own to be very vigilant and we would ask their neighbours to be vigilant and not to admit anyone to their house until they are satisfied that they are who they say they are. Report any suspicious activity to the local garda station.’