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Home improvement scam targeting elderly victims

SHARONVILLE, Ohio (Angela Ingram) -- Police are looking for a man who preys on the elderly, scamming them out of thousands of dollars.
    
Investigators say the suspect travels the area pretending to do home improvements.  The so-called work done Saturday on an elderly woman's chimney wasn't necessary according to police.  The Sharonville woman says a group of workers came to her house claiming the chimney was in bad shape. 

The woman's son, Mark Conry, tells Local 12's Angela Ingram, "And they told her it would be like $25 to do the job.  When they got the job done there was like five guys, two younger and two older, and when they came down they gave her a bill of 1,700 dollars."
   
Fortunately the Conry family was able to stop payment on the check before scammers could cash it.  But police say an 85-year-old was likely a victim of the same group last month.  They came to his home on Creek Road and bilked him out of 5,000 dollars to repair a roof.

In both cases, the group of six to eight people got up on the roof, sprayed some black tar or paint around select areas, hammered nails, and actually caused damage to the roofs.  Then they pressured the victims to pay them because they "fixed" the problems. 

Cameras at a PNC branch caught images images of a suspect.  Police say the man is Brice Ryan.  The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office says Ryan also conned a 91-year-old woman out of 4,400 dollars.

Sgt. Ryan Hermes of the Sharonville Police Department said, "All of the targets that we have inside of city and all of the people that we believe have been approached are specifically approached because they are elderly."
   
The most recent victim's son says the scammers violated his mother's trust.

"I just think it's really bad when people have to do that to the elderly.  She's worked so hard her whole life to save up this amount and get a retirement.  And it just was, I can't believe it, I really can't," said Mark Conry.
       
If you can help police find Brice Ryan call Crime Stoppers at 352-3040.

Follow Angela Ingram on Twitter @newslaw1 and LIKE her on Facebook

Video HERE
 

 

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