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Nassau Police Investigating Series Of Burglaries Targeting The Elderly

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The Nassau County Police Department is investigating three robberies they say are part of a recent pattern.

Gilbert and Marie Soranson live on a quiet block in Massapequa Park.  They've not seen any crime there before yesterday, when 50 years' worth of memories were snatched from inside their home.

"My wedding ring with my engagement ring that's is an insert, you know, and then there was a wrist watch that was like $1,300, and then there was an amethyst ring," Marie Soranson told CBS 2's Jessica Schneider.

Gilbert Soranson heard the knock on the door around noon Tuesday. An Hispanic woman explained she was a new neighbor doing work in the yard and asked him to come outside.  That's when her partner in crime walked in the front door.

"She was saying 'You know this fence, you need some repairs to the fence, we could do this, that and the other thing," he explained.

"I'm still in shock. I can't believe that he can walk into our house, go to both bedrooms, pick out the one he wants, the jewelry, and then walk right out," Marie said.

This isn't an isolated scheme. Nassau County police say it's happened seven times in the past two weeks.

"Usually they operate in groups. In one case, a man might go to the door and say that he's there to bury cables, and in another case a woman might go to the front door and say 'I want to talk to you. I just bought the house next door. I want to put up a fence. Come to the backyard and take a look with me because I don't want to be on your property line," explained Det. Lt. Kevin Smith of the Nassau County Police Dept.

"They're smooth-talking, loathsome scam artists," Smith told 1010 WINS.

Since Dec. 9, teams of two have targeted senior citizens in Wantagh, Massapequa Park, Jericho, West Hempstead and Merrick.  They are posing as utility workers or home repair contractors - they are driving a dark van with out of state plates, and woman often carries a two-way radio.

"She had a walky-talky. I couldn't make out what the conversation was, but she was checking with somebody outside," said Gilbert Soranson.

Nassau County police are urging senior citizens to keep their doors locked and to not answer their doors for anyone they don't know.

Anyone with any information about the case is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-244-8477.

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