OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Beware of strangers who come knocking on your door. Ocean Springs police are investigating at least two recent cases of thieves who have targeted homeowners, mainly the elderly. Marty McKenney says she is one of the victims.
Last Tuesday night, while visiting her daughter in Ocean Springs, she heard a knock on the back door. Outside stood a slim, dark-haired woman, asking for help.
"My car just broke down and I need to call a towing company. Do you have a phone book? And I said, 'Yeah, I think so,'" McKenney recalled.
McKenney let the woman inside the home.
"I never took my eyes off her except when I turned to get the phone book," she said.
McKenney said the woman called someone, then asked to leave through the front door. McKenney then went to close the back door.
"I walked by my purse and immediately noticed my wallet was out of it, and I ran to the front door and the car was gone," said McKenney.
McKenney lost $175 in cash, along with precious items, like her military ID card, car and house keys, and family photos.
"It's just sad. At first you feel terribly violated," said McKenney.
McKenney immediately notified her credit card companies and banks and hasn't lost any money. But Ocean Springs police say an elderly man was also a victim and the thief actually used his credit cards. Officers are warning people to be extra cautious.
"Don't open the door for somebody you don't know. Do not open the door for them, because you never know what their intentions might be," said Captain William Jackson with the Ocean Springs Police Department.
"It's unnerving. My mother lives here and she's elderly and we have a lot of elderly people," said Mimi Penn of Ocean Springs.
"Very scary to know somebody would come up to your house and try and take advantage of you like that," said Kathy Stinson of Ocean Springs.
McKenney is more wary now of who is on the other side of the door.
"When it's somebody you've shown kindness to and they come into your home and do something like that, and makes it even worse. All you can do is pray they find her and she comes to know the Lord," said McKenney.
Ocean Springs police say they are also looking for a man who drove the getaway car. They have also heard of similar theft cases in the St. Martin area.