'Gypsy' scammers hitting Chicago area hard this summer - FOX 32 News Chicago

'Gypsy' scammers hitting Chicago area hard this summer

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Experts say it's been the busiest summer ever in Chicago for what police call "Gypsy" scams, and senior citizens everywhere need to watch out.

In west-suburban Westchester, police arrested four men who they say were posing as home repair men to try to rip off an elderly woman. Among them, Frank Ely, 67, and his two sons Sam Ely, 45, and Robert Ely, 42. Police say the men are members of a notorious crime family. Frank Ely has been arrested 37 times since 1962.

"I call them terrorists. They're senior citizen terrorists in my opinion," said Westchester Police Chief April Padalik.

Police in Harwood Heights just arrested two men for ripping off an elderly couple. They say the men were finding their victims at a local drug store, and offering to do cheap auto repair work at the victims' home. Once there, police say the scammers asked the elderly people for change for a $20.

"That's a way of finding out where they keep their money," Harwood Heights Detective Jolanta Smith said.

That's when the scammers return to the house, and while one corners the couple in their kitchen, the other steals cash from the victims' bedroom.

Ricky Ziko, 42, is charged with residential burglary. Another man is charged with a misdemeanor in the case.

Police say if you're not sure who someone is, don't let them into your home.

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