'He took a part of my heart when he took my mama's broaches:' 88-year-old woman robbed in 'utility worker scam'

Friday, November 8, 2019
News 12 at 11 o'clock

88-year-old Mary Radford was robbed by two men pretending to be utility workers. (Source: WRDW/WAGT)

MCDUFFIE COUNTY, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- An 88-year-old McDuffie County woman was robbed by two men pretending to be utility workers. She says the men were wearing yellow safety vests and driving a white van.

Mary Radford says one walked up to her door to talk about installing a new phone line while the other went inside through the back door and stole hundreds of dollars worth of jewelry.

This thievery tactic is certainly not new. Whether it be pizza delivery, mailmen, or utility workers, thieves often knock on the doors of their victims dressed up as someone they're not.

Radford says her joy in life does not come from material things, but when she was robbed blind of her sentimental jewelry, like her mother's broaches, she says it stung.

"He took a part of my heart when he took my mama's broaches," she said. "There's not enough money for me to put a money value on that because I've had those for years. Mother died when I was 16."

She says she'd been having phone issues previously, so when two men showed up claiming they were putting in a new phone line, she didn't think twice about it.

"I always knew I wasn't smart, but I didn't think I was stupid. I fell for that fool's line. He got me hook, line, and sinker," said Radford.

She's had 88 years worth of life experiences, but Mary says it's never too late to learn from them.

"I am going to be the most suspicious person you ever met. I'm going to have to see identification" said Radford.

She also wants to warn those around her to be careful, too.

"I hope if anybody's listening to me, any other old ladies, please don't put your jewelry all in the same place," she said.

News 12 reached out several times to McDuffie County Sheriff's Office for more details on how to keep yourself safe from crimes from this. We're still waiting to hear back.

In the meantime, officials always want to remind you: When it comes to people knocking on your doors, always ask for identification.

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