Con man stole couple's jewellery

Scenes of crime officer Constable Justine Hartley dusts elderly couple Elizabeth and Bill Steele’s car for finger prints yesterday.
Scenes of crime officer Constable Justine Hartley dusts elderly couple Elizabeth and Bill Steele’s car for finger prints yesterday. Amy Formosa

A SMOOTH speaking con man left an elderly couple distraught after fleeing with more than $10,000 worth of jewels yesterday.

Elizabeth Steele, 83, and husband Bill, 86, were targeted after advertising two diamond rings and a sapphire in a local pocket trader.

Yesterday afternoon, as forensic investigators dusted for fingerprints, Elizabeth told how the couple had been duped into handing over the jewels which they hoped to sell to raise money to buy a newer car.

Yesterday morning the Stenlake Avenue couple received their second reverse charge call from a man interested in buying the high-carat jewellery and the sapphire Elizabeth has had since 1989 when they lived on the Gemfields, west of Rockhampton.

The man, believed to be about 28 years old, told them he didn’t have a car after claiming to have lost his licence.

He asked nicely if they would pick him up from the nearby Caltex Service Station so he could come back to their home and look at the jewels.

After looking he said he was interested and asked to be taken to the Suncorp bank at Stockland Rockhampton to obtain cash to pay.

“He seemed like a down-to-earth honest guy and he was telling us about his little boy named Michael,” Elizabeth said.

“He told me he would make arrangements to be picked up from Stockland after getting the money,” she said.

Elizabeth wrote out a receipt and Bill drove the man to Stockland.

“I told Bill not to give him the rings before getting the cash and the receipt was put in the bag with the jewellery,” she said.

“When they got to Stockland he took Bill in and knocked at the window of the bank.”

Putting his trust in the man, Bill had handed over the bag with the jewellery and receipt before getting payment. Elizabeth said the moment Bill turned his back to sit down, the man fled.

He was described as Caucasian, fairly tall with dark hair and a bleached blonde pony tail and was wearing a black leather jacket and jeans. Elizabeth said the jewellery was for sale for $4000 as they were in desperate need of funds.

“All up they’re worth about $12,000,” she said.

Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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