The Locksmith bandit
A story from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Personally I wouldn't give someone assistance like this without some proof. What do you think?
Linked to- DragonLady, Bullwinkle, Pursuing Holiness,
SARASOTA COUNTY -- The number of people complaining that they were ripped off in a door-to-door scam continues to increase since the arrest of a woman police say may be the culprit.
Lisa Velez said when she saw a picture of Linda Michelle Anania, she knew it was the woman who showed up at her door about a month ago at 2:30 a.m. The woman said she locked her keys in the car and needed $19 to pay a locksmith.
"We just thought it was odd," Velez said. "She knew people's names in the complex and everything. I figured it was a scam."
Velez said she didn't give the woman any money, but others have. Dozens of residents in the county and city have come forward to say they were ripped off. They all have similar stories of a woman in distress asking for an odd amount of money.
Sarasota County deputies believe Anania, 46, may be the woman behind the scam.
She was arrested on Feb. 18 in the 6100 block of Lockwood Ridge Road, the area hit by the scammer most recently. She was arrested on unrelated loitering and prowling charges.
Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Chuck Lesaltato said the department has received numerous calls since releasing Anania's picture.
"We don't know how many victims are out there," Lesaltato said. "This thing is snowballing and more people are coming forward now."
Lesaltato said some people were embarrassed to admit they were scammed, but now that others are coming forward they are less reluctant.
"People are finding out they are not the only ones," Lesaltato said. "They are finding out that their neighbors were scammed."
Velez said the woman went to at least four of her neighbors, some of whom gave her money and a ride to look for her dog. Kenneth Morris, 83, lives in the Indian Beach area and said a woman came to his door about two months ago asking for $19. The woman said she had been locked out of her car and needed money for the locksmith.
Morris said he gave her $20, but thought better of it after she left. He didn't call the police and doesn't have plans to call now.