Metro police warn of holiday saleswoman stealing from seniors’ homes

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LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- Local police are warning residents to be on the lookout for a saleswoman scamming seniors.

She's wanted all over the metro for what looks to be a harmless holiday sale for charity. But police say she's using Christmas baskets to help herself to items inside retirement communities, including residents' wallets and purses.

“I was just sitting there watching TV, and all the sudden this lady appeared," 76-year-old Patricia Piper said.

Many of her neighbors at the Lee's Summit retirement villas off Todd George Parkway might have been more alarmed by a strange woman standing in her living room with a Christmas basket, but not Piper.

“I trust people too much. I just do. I’ve never met anybody that I didn’t like," she said.

So when the woman said she was selling the cellophane-wrapped baskets with candy for "a donation," she grabbed a dollar from her wallet sitting on the end table beside her chair.

“Then she said, 'Can I have a drink of some water?'" Piper said.

Piper is on oxygen and her hip is out of place, but she happily obliged.

“While I had my back to her, she got the billfold," she explained.

One sip later and the woman was gone with Piper’s cash, driver's license and credit cards. Police say she fraudulently used those cards to ring up charges at a Walgreen’s and a gas station.

"I cried all day that day and all night I was just so upset. I just thought my world was gone," Piper said.

Working with other departments, including Grain Valley and Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit police have been able to figure out who the woman is. But she hasn’t been charged and booked.

For now they're warning homeowners, especially people living in retirement communities, to watch out for a white female in her 50s, 5-foot-4-inches tall, weighing 160 pounds, with blonde hair. She normally drives a silver Pontiac G6.

“How could a person live with their selves doing something like that, taking from other people? I hope they catch her, I really do," Piper said.

Police say this serves as a reminder not to allow any solicitor into your home. In Lee’s Summit, you need a police-issued solicitor’s permit for any door-to-door sales.

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