A SCAM which saw an elderly woman robbed of cash at her own house, is being investigated by gardai in Dunmanway, who are warning others to be vigilant.
The incident took place around 11.20am on Tuesday, August 16th on Chapel Street, when a man in his 40s called to the house of an elderly lady, on the pretence that he was looking for a neighbour who had sought a quotation for a painting job.
‘She described the man as being about 5’ 10”, stocky, clean shaven, with his hair cut tight,’ explained Sgt Ian O’Callaghan. ‘He had a round, brown, collar on his t-shirt, which itself was different shades of brown, and he had dark trousers, and blue or grey runners.’
In the course of the conversation, the man suggested doing some roofing work for the woman, and sought 50% of the price up-front. When the cash was handed over, he said he would return with some cladding that evening, but she never saw him again.
Gardai are now seeking the man, who they do not believe is local, and may be driving a white goods van, which would have been parked on Chapel Street for some time that day.
‘He may have tried the same thing with some other people in West Cork,’ said Sgt O’Callaghan, ‘and we would like to talk to anyone who came across him – whether they gave him money or not.’
He added a word of warning for others: ‘We would ask people not to engage any work with strangers, and also not to keep cash at home.’
He also urged anyone with elderly friends, family or neighbours, to inform them of the scam, in the hope that they would be aware in the event of a similar incident. ‘There was no question of violence, this man’s modus operandi is pure deception.’
He said anyone with information on the man should contact Dunmanway Garda Station at 023 8845202.
In addition, Sgt O’Callaghan said gardai were investigating a number of other incidents in the region during what has overall been a very quiet summer period for crime reports.
Theft of oil from tanks is still a crime that homeowners and farmyard managers need to be aware of, he said. There was also a burglary at a house in the townland of Gurranemuddagh near Crookstown on August 15th, between the hours of 12.20pm and 3.40pm.
While a couple were out, the rear door of their home was forced in, and another interior door was also kicked in. However, nothing was taken. ‘Often, when there isn’t gold jewellery or cash readily available, the intruder isn’t interested,’ said the Sgt, who is also West Cork’s crime prevention officer.
However, two days later, a cash box and some vegetables were taken from a farm produce container at Peake, Coachford. The lock was cut on the container at about 4.35am on August 17th and gardai are investigating.
A substantial amount of garden equipment was taken from a garden shed belonging to a house at Ballywilliam, Belgooly, between August 17th at midday, and 7am on August 20th.
Intruders who gained access took away a Husqvarna strimmer and ride-on mower, including mower loading ramps, to a combined value of about €4,000.