A three-man crew posing as electrical workers tricked an older couple out of $1,000, Mesquite police say.
Police are seeking Steven Cranford on suspicion of felony theft in the incident. Cranford and two other men told Martha Range and her husband that their home needed electrical work, investigators said.
Cranford knocked on the door of their home in the 1000 block of Lakeshore Drive on Monday. He said he worked for TXU Energy, which had traced an electrical problem to the house. It was vital that they get inside and fix it, he told the couple.
"He said our house was subject to burn almost immediately if they did not take care of it now," Range said.
Range said Cranford stayed inside with her and her husband while the other two men worked in the garage.
She said she was a bit skeptical about Cranford, saying he wore a hardhat and used electrician lingo but did not drive a marked TXU truck.
When she asked why he wasn't in a marked truck, "He said all of the regular TXU personnel were in Oklahoma taking care of the tornado victims," Range said.
Cranford didn't miss a chance to charm them, she said. He followed her husband into the bedroom when he needed to rest after a few minutes, she said.
"The fellow went right in after him into the bedroom and started to pray over my husband," Range said.
Afterward, Cranford came out and started talking about the Bible and reciting biblical verses, she said.
After about 25 minutes of work, the crew pretending to work in the garage came inside and showed Range some frayed wires. After a quick talk on the phone with someone pretending to be a boss, Cranford told Range how much she owed -- $33,000.
Cranford wasn't done charming the couple. He said he was able to get the price down to $8,000 because they were senior citizens. Flustered, Range wrote him a $1,000 check. When she asked for a receipt, Cranford told her he would mail it to her, she said.
He left, cashed the check and disappeared with the two other men.
Police have obtained a felony theft warrant for Cranford with a $100,000 bond in connection with the incident.
Mesquite police Lt. Bill Hedgpeth said Cranford is wanted for crimes in Van Zandt and Houston counties, Georgia and Missouri.