Robbery victim warns others of fake contractor scam

The thieves distracted Bill in his yard while another suspect went through his house looking for valuables.

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. (WTHR) - It's the season contractors may start showing up at your door offering to trim your trees, paint the house or cut your lawn.

But a man on the south side learned they could be after something else.

Last Friday morning, Bill Sudkamp set up his chair in his favorite spot.

"I was just sitting out there in my chair in the garage," said the Korean War-era U.S. Marine. With the garage door open, he was enjoying what was a sunny afternoon at his home off County Line Road.

"A guy came walking up the driveway," Bill said. "He wanted to talk to me about trimming my trees. I thought, 'Well, they could use trimming.'"

While he and the man walked around the back and side of the house checking out the trees that needed trimming, he says he noticed the man was doing something that at first he didn't think was suspicious.

"All the time he's talking on his cell phone in Spanish," Bill said.

He first thought the guy was on the phone with his company. But now he figures the person on the other end of the cell phone was probably getting into Bill's house, walking into Bill's bedroom and going through Bill's dresser for valuables. All while the first guy kept Bill distracted on the lawn.

When he returned to ths house later, he found papers from his bureau drawers scattered on the countertop.

"And that's when they stole her gold watch, the Krugerrand, and my star sapphire 18-karat white gold ring," Bill said.

All valuable gold items, he says, all gone. The gold Krugerrand coin was in a gold setting with gold chain. They left behind costume jewelry. They knew the difference, Bills aid.

"I never saw the other guy. Never saw him. Never saw him when he came, never saw him when he left," Bill said.

It's disheartening to the 86-year-old who served his country. His friend is just happy she wasn't in the house alone when the other man came in.

"I didn't suspect a thing and he shook my hand and he left. I guess I don't suspect people," he said.

He says the suspect left in a black Nissan compact car. Police warn about using extra caution when contractors you haven't called show up at your door.

If you have information about the men who robbed Bill's home, call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.

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