"Distraction theft" victimizes woman, 90, in heist of $16,000 worth of jewelry

Giocomina Arnone, 90, at her home in Coral Gables, Fla., where she was the victim of a "distraction theft" according to police.
CBS Miami
(CBS) CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. - A 90-year-old woman in South Florida fell victim to a "distraction theft" scam that investigators say cost her $16,000 worth of jewelry, CBS Miami reported.

Police in Coral Springs said the two-man heist happened on September 19 when one man posing as a city worker told Giocomina Arnone he was there to check out a tree in her backyard, and claimed it needed to be trimmed.

Then, while Arnone spoke with the man out back, another person snuck into her home through the unlocked front door.

Her precious diamonds, rings and rosary beads vanished from her dresser.

"They took so many things," Arnone told CBS Miami. "I didn't think anybody would do that."

She specifically recalled a ring she guessed was more than 100 years old and rosary beads given to her by a monk.

Arnone said she never asked to see the "tree trimmer's" credentials.

"This man had such finesse that if he went to Hollywood they would have hired him. He was such an actor," she told the station.

The 90-year-old said she has lived in her home for 40 years, the last 13 years alone since her husband died.

Coral Springs Police Sgt. Carla Kmiotek said cops have seen a few similar cases this year.

"All of our city employees drive city vehicles. They wear identification. When anybody comes to your door, make sure that you can verify who they are," Sgt. Kmiotek said.

Arnone said the man was driving a black pick-up truck.

If you have any details that might help police, call Broward Crimestoppers at 954-493-TIPS or the detective at (954)346-1773.