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Crooks May Be Targeting Elderly Victims

Crooks May Be Targeting Elderly Victims

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Sandra Yi ReportingThree people, targeted by crooks, and their age may have made them vulnerable. The search continues for suspects in two different robberies in less than a week. The most recent was a home invasion robbery yesterday morning in Midvale. All the victims involved are elderly.

In both cases, it appears the suspects may have gotten to know the victims before the crimes, and they may have been targeted because of their age.

Mary Pantkelakis: "We are an easy target, or were."

A man who invaded her home yesterday may have taken advantage of her kindness.

Mary Pantkelakis: "He said he needed money and that he was willing to work, and that he could do a lot of things."

Pantkelakis offered the stranger some house work. Coincidentally, the next morning someone barged in through her side door and demanded money. Pantkelakis feared for her 94 year old mother.

Mary Pantkelakis: "And that's when I told him, 'Don't shove my mother to the floor, she'll break her bones.'"

Seventy-two-year old Dennis Vail, a cancer patient, was also the target of a robber last week. The man, posing as a customer, came into his barbershop 10 days before the crime.

Dennis Vail: "And while I was down like this, he grabbed me and threw me against the wall, bloodied my nose, and he said, 'Do everything I say or I'll kill you.'"

The suspect bound his hands and mouth with duct tape, rummaged through the shop and made his getaway in Vail's truck.

Advocates say the elderly can be easy targets.

Chuck Diviney, Division of Aging and Adult Services: "A lot of times, you trust people, and as we get older, I think that trust is definitely manipulated."

Mary Pantkelakis learned a lesson from her ordeal.

Mary Pantkelakis: "Well, it made me feel awful, but i guess, from now on, i'm going through companies."

Advocates encourage others to follow Pantkelakis' advice. She also secured her home with steel doors and an alarm system.

Mary Pantkelakis: "I think anyone who targets a baby, a child, or a defenseless person of any kind, I don't have mercy for people."

Aging and Adult Services has resources for the public; check the link at the top right of this story. As for the home invasion robbery, Midvale Police say they have good leads. South Ogden Police are still looking for the suspect in the barbershop robbery.

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