Thieves Posing As Roofers Rob South Suburban Seniors For Thousands

LANSING, Ill. (CBS) — Some men posing as roofers showed up uninvited, offering to make repairs for a south suburban couple.

Instead, they robbed the senior citizens for thousands.

As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, the men posing as roofers were in and out within about six minutes – and it wasn’t until they were gone that the couple realized they had been had.

Surveillance video shows a man pitching roof repairs to Arturo Salinas outside his suburban Lansing home on Friday. But his roof doesn’t need any fixing.

“Right away he grabs my hand, you know, shakes it like he knows me,” Salinas said. “He doesn’t know me. I don’t know him.”

“(He said), ‘There’s something wrong with your roof and the garage, so we need to fix it,” said Elisabeth Salinas.

Arturo Salinas is a Korean War veteran. He and Elisabeth have been married for 66 years.

“We should know better,” Elisabeth Salinas said.

They said the man was fast-talking, convincing Arturo to go to the garage while distracting Elisabeth downstairs.

“He told me to go downstairs and get a pail of hot water,” Elisabeth said.

Meanwhile, a third man put on gloves and slipped into the house.

Arturo said his gun safe was ripped from the closet.

“They invaded my home,” he said.

Cameras caught the same man who snuck in as he left just as quickly with what appeared to be the safe under his jacket.

“I had 1,000 bucks in there. I had my gun in there – my Beretta. I had my bank books in there,” Arturo said.

“We should have been quick enough to realize,” Elisabeth said.

With the safe loaded up and the roof never touched, the only job the purported roofing crew did was to rip off a couple in their 80s. After handing out what they claimed were business cards and urging Mr. and Mrs. Salinas to pass them out to their friends and neighbors and even their barber, the thieves made their escape in a white car.

Lansing Thieves Posing As Roofers

Suspected thieves posed as roofers to get into the home of a Lansing couple and steal valuable items. (Credit: Salinas Family)

“I mean, how could you go into a home – young guys – and mess with a senior citizen?” Arturo said.

The couple estimates that the men stole between $4,000 and $5,000 worth of valuables. That included a gold bracelet with Arturo’s U.S. Army ID engraved. His Army serial number, which he asked to have shared, is 55198241.

The couple was uninjured, but they said they learned an expensive lesson.

If you recognize any of the men seen in surveillance video, you are asked to call police.

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