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Woman pretends to be healthcare worker to steal from 79-year-old victim in Miami Beach

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Helen Mergupis said a woman earned her trust and stole a gold chain that belonged to her mother. The 79-year-old Miami Beach resident said she wants her family heirloom back.

Mergupis said she went out to walk her two small dogs on Tuesday afternoon. She was near the intersection of 16th Street and Bay Road when a woman who was dressed in white was quick to spark up a conversation.

“This little woman, up to my chest, came up to me and said, ‘How are you?’ And I said, ‘I am fine, but the only thing is that I have arthritis in my knees.’”

Mergupis said the woman — who had reddish hair and was between 5-foot-2-inches to 5-foot-4-inches tall — told her she was a healthcare worker and convinced Helen to let her inside her home, so she could see her prescription medications.

“I trusted her because I trust everybody,” Mergupis said. “And all of a sudden, her hand goes up to my neck and starts, ‘Oh! Does this hurt?’”

A woman recently stole a gold chain from a 79-year-old Miami Beach resident. (MBPD)

She continued rubbing her neck. That’s when Mergupis believes the woman stealthily removed her gold chain and stole it. Surveillance video shows the woman running off and getting into a dark sports utility vehicle.

“I’m devastated and sad and mad,” Mergupis said, adding that she wants everyone to learn from her experience and protect themselves.

Mergupis is asking anyone with information about the priceless necklace to contact the Miami Beach Police Department at 305-673-7982 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.


About the Author:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.