PLAINFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — From Facebook friend to criminal foe – a Plainfield family believes the social media site was the first step in a plot to gain a senior’s trust, only to take advantage of it.
As CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross reported, a 2013 Ford Escape was returned to the garage in Plainfield where it belonged on Monday. It had new scratches on its side – in just one of many surprises for its owner, Sharon Pillow.
“I’m still in shock,” Pillow said.
Pillow’s daughter, Pam Scarpace, expressed her reaction as anger and shock.
“She said, ‘My car’s gone,” Scarpace said.
The man allegedly took the car 62 miles all the way to Streator, Illinois, and left the keys, but no gas, when it was returned
On Friday, Pillow said she got a visit from a man she knew through Facebook. CBS 2 is not identifying him, since he has not been charged with a crime.
The man posted that he was looking for work and could do odd jobs around the house.
“He said: ‘I was in town. I thought I’d stop by and see what it is that you were needing done,” Pillow said.
As to how the man even knew where Pillow lived, she said, “Well, that’s a good question.”
“I do believe my mom was probably stalked on Facebook. He realized she was a widow. He earned her trust,” Scarpace said.
“Inviting him in, I was just being kind,” Pillow added. “It was just being me.”
Meanwhile, while the man from Facebook was already at Pillow’s house, she said someone else showed up to the door.
“My doorbell rang and it was some young boy selling candy,” she said.
Scarpace said she believed it was an accomplice. While her mother was preoccupied with the visit at the door, Scarpace believed the handyman from Facebook had already taken some things.
They said he got both sets of car keys, Pillow’s debit card, and her cellphone. It was not clear how he got a hold of Pillow’s PIN, but daughter Scarpace said the man took all the money her mother had left in her account.
Scarpace said she reported hundreds vanishing through a series of ATM withdrawals to Plainfield police – and one item also vanished that money cannot replace.
“The bracelet was from my dad, who passed away three years ago,” SCarpace said. “Fifty-five years together meaningful.”
What the thief left behind includes a damage door lock connected to the garage. And the vehicle might be back, but the family’s sense of security remains missing.
“I just hope people listen to this and pay attention,” Pillow said.
The family said the thief has multiple profiles on Facebook. The Plainfield Police Department said it is investigating and will soon issue a community alert about these types of crimes.