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Crooks target 91-year-old's most valued possession

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fresno Police are raising the alarm about what they call an ongoing scam targeting senior citizens.

Investigators say the crooks are a team of a man and a woman. They act very friendly, and offer to do some home improvement or yard work, but their only goal is to get inside the house.

At 91-years-old, Haig Aivazian is suddenly getting a lot of advice about not talking to strangers.

"I shouldn't have," he said in a phone conversation with one of his children. "I did."

Family members are calling to check on the widower after he let a man and woman into his house Tuesday. He thought they were there to discuss trimming his trees.

"I was with her," Aivazian said. "He was in the bathroom, I thought. Then when he came out he says, 'Okay, let's go.' He says, 'We'll be here tomorrow to do the trees.'"

Aivazian never saw them again. The next day, though, he noticed a bare spot on top of his dresser where he usually put his wedding ring and a wristwatch alongside his wallet. $72 were missing from the wallet, and the watch and ring were gone.

"I don't care about the money or the wristwatch," he said. "To me the sentimental part is the wedding ring. That's what gets me the most. She was so damn nice to me. I didn't realize."

Aivazian got the ring from his wife of 58 years, Ruth. She passed away in 2009, but he still thinks about her every day -- especially around meal time because he can't cook. His house is filled with memories of Ruth and his family, but he doesn't have any pictures of the ring, so we had him describe it.

"The ring fit this finger and half of this side was silver, this side was gold and then on top I had 1, 2, 3 little diamonds," he told us.

Police are looking for a Hispanic man in his early forties. He's between 5'5" and 5'"7", and he's heavy set. The girl is described as 18 to 20 years old. She's thin and has shoulder length hair.

Aivazian says he'd recognize them if he saw them again, but he never expects he will. He only hopes he'll see the ring again.

The suspects were driving a silver SUV and police believe they may be targeting other seniors as well.

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Tags:
scams, crimetracker, theft, fresno, fresno county, local, corin hoggard
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