Date: September 21, 2004 "For Immediate Release"
To: News Media
From: Sheriff Lawrence W. Crow, Jr.
Media Contact:

Carrie Rodgers, (863) 534-6217 OR (863) 819-1856 Pager


The Polk County Seniors vs. Crime Project has been very successful in its operation so far this year. Two examples are:

On February 16th, a disabled elderly man was approached by Smith Paving, a company based in Mason, Ohio, who offered him a "good deal" using leftover asphalt from another job.  They agreed on a price of $800-$1000, however, once the job was completed, the company charged the homeowner $4470. The homeowner paid the bill in full but soon noticed grass growing through the asphalt. He had no luck getting the matter resolved with the company, so he contacted a volunteer at the Senior vs. Crime storefront, who was successful in getting $1000 back to the homeowner.

On August 10th, a complainant came to Seniors vs. Crime for help recovering court costs after she had taken the Idin Oriental Rugs Gallery to small claims court. The Gallery had taken a rug from the woman and was going to sell it for her on consignment. When the rug didn't sell, the complainant went to retrieve it but was given a different rug instead. She was unable to get the matter resolved through the gallery owner, and when she filed a claim against him in court, he did not show. Two days after coming to Seniors vs. Crime, the gallery owner appeared with a check for the full amount sought of $842.50.

The Senior vs. Crime Project was founded statewide in 1989 after the Florida Legislature ordered a task force to report on crime and the elderly. This task force found that seniors were being targeted for scams; were subjected to high-pressure tactics by some salespersons; and were being deceived by false advertising, at alarming frequency.

Storefronts manned by "Senior Sleuth" volunteers have been opened throughout Florida and have provided senior residents the opportunity to speak to other seniors about victimization in a safe and relaxed atmosphere. The Polk County storefront is located at 149 N. Wabash Avenue in Lakeland.  

If you would like more information about the Senior vs. Crime Project please contact the PCSO Crime Prevention Unit at 534-6677.


Distribution: Undersheriff, Division Commanders, Communications, News Media

A text only version of this release is also available.

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