By Michael R. Moser
An elderly Cumberland County couple fell victim to a pair of con artists posing as county highway department workers involved in a road widening project in front of the victims' home.
The incident took place Nov. 16 in the 300 block of Old Genesis Rd., a county-maintained road off Genesis Rd., around 2:30 p.m., Sheriff's Department Cpl. Jeff Turner wrote in his report.
The victims — described as being in their mid 70s — were not hurt, but lost over $2,200 worth of personal property during the incident to theft and vandalism.
The couple told deputies that two men arrived at their home — one driving a red truck and the other driving a light-colored four-door truck. The pair told the couple they were there to talk to them about a pending road-widening project that would pass in front of their home.
"They needed the victim to come to the road and check where the road would be expanded and see how this would affect them," Turner quoted the male victim as stating.
The two men went to the road in the red pickup truck, followed by the couple in their car. When the victims returned to their home, they noticed the four-door truck gone and their home locked. "The victim states he never locks his residence and it was not locked up," Turner wrote.
A chainsaw was missing from a detached garage, and a hammer and sledge hammer kept in the garage was found inside the residence. At least two items found at the residence did not belong to the victims.
The residence was vandalized, with a rifle, sheetrock and gun safe damaged or destroyed. Missing was a chainsaw, $95 in cash and clothing.
Cumberland County Road Superintendent Scott Blaylock expressed concern this week, upon learning of the incident.
"Anytime that we (road department employees) go out and involve the public in what we are doing, we are in white trucks that have Cumberland County Highway Department markings on the side," said Blaylock.
"The only time we would approach a residence would be if the property owner had contacted us and requested a work order, and 90 percent of the time we just do the work from the road and leave. There is no need for us to contact the resident."
Blaylock added that his department is not involved in any road widening projects at this time. Anyone with questions about road department activity is urged by Blaylock to contact his department at 484-5424.
Sheriff's Investigators Jerry Jackson and Scott Griffin were notified of the incident and investigation is continuing.