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Elderly Sisters Scammed By ‘Handyman’ In Manchester, NH

By Michael Rosenfield, WBZ-TV

MANCHESTER, NH (CBS) – Two sisters, 93-year-old Lorraine Fitzgerald and Rachel Petchell, 97, are upset after getting scammed by a con man.

“Why were we so gullible,” wonders Fitzgerald. “We’re old but you should know better.”

A man had pulled up in a white van to their Manchester home claiming he was a handyman. He had them come to the backyard and offered to clean up the lawn. The sisters knew they needed the work done, and at just $50 it sounded like a good deal.

“He seemed so nice, he talked very very nice,” said Petchell. “But now that I see it all, he was a very fake man.”

Sisters Lorraine Fitzgerald and Rachel Petchell

Sisters Lorraine Fitzgerald and Rachel Petchell

The sisters noticed another man near the van, but were more interested in the discussion about the landscape work.

“He started to talk about what he was going to do and it was cheap,” said Fitzgerald. “He talked to us for a long time.”

After the talk in the backyard, the handyman told the sisters he would be right back but the next thing they knew he was getting into the white van and speeding away down Candia Road.

When the women came back inside their house, they realized the other man had rummaged through the home. Chairs were turned over and drawers had been opened.

“The moment I came in here I said ‘Lorraine they’re robbers, they’re robbers,'” said Petchell. “I had about 15 little bracelets…they took them all.”

Two safes were stolen as well, which held documents, antiques and old $2 bills.

In a news release from the Manchester Police Department, the handyman is described as a short, white male in his fifties with a fat belly. The van is a white worker’s van with no lettering on it. It had solid doors on the back with no window, although there were windows on the sides.

Anonymous tips for cash rewards can be made through Manchester Crimeline at 603-624-4040 or online at Manchestercrimeline.org.

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