An ex-employee of a pest control company conned his way into elderly people’s homes by claiming he was there to do a follow-up inspection but instead stole expensive jewelry and other items, police say.
Among the alleged victims is an 81-year-old woman whose wedding ring was stolen just weeks before her husband died.
Hector Garcia Orozco, 43, of Fort Worth, was indicted this week on a charge of theft over $200,000 and was released from jail after posting $10,000 bond.
"This is a very egrigious case specifically targeting seniors,” said Tarrant County assistant district attorney Lori Burks.
It was almost the perfect crime because the victims had no reason to be suspicious because Orozco dressed in his old uniform, she said.
"You don't think twice about it because you're the one who probably initiated your relationship with that company. They've been there a number of times. You're used to seeing them,” Burks said.
But police identified Orozco as a suspect after a series of similar thefts. He started the alleged scheme after Terminix fired him in August, prosecutors said.
In a statement, Terminix said the actions of its former employee are “inexcusable and are in no way a reflection of the values and standards of our company.”
Terminix also said it was cooperating fully with the investigation.
In October, 81-year-old Libby Page said Orozco visited her home. Weeks later, she noticed her wedding ring had disappeared along with a “love” necklace her husband had given her years ago.
“I was so proud of it,” she said.
She and her husband Sonny had been married for 57 years.
When Sonny Page died in January, she could not wear her wedding ring or favorite necklace.
Lakisha Woodard, Page’s full-time caregiver, said she was also there when Orozco visited.
"He said he was doing an inspection around the house,” Woodard said. “He went in every room.”
She said she wasn’t suspicious when he showed up for a “follow up inspection.”
"Yeah, no problem,” she remembered telling him. “Come on in, because we've got bugs for you."
Police said officers recovered many stolen jewelry items in a search of Orozco’s house and more than $10,000 in cash.
But they didn’t find Page’s wedding ring or necklace.
“I wish I had my ring,” Page said. “I guess I won't ever get it back."
Investigators have not given up trying to find it, police said.