by: Kathryn Burcham Updated:
MONROE, N.C. - Monroe police are searching for a woman they said posed as a Union County Department of Social Services worker to gain access to a senior citizen's home.
Police said the woman wore a name badge when she talked her way inside the 87-year-old woman's home and then asked to use her bathroom.
"When you think of someone from the Department of Social Services, you think of somebody there to help you, not somebody to scam or harm you," said Lt. Davey Plyler, with the Monroe Police Department.
The victim, Mary Derrick, told Channel 9 when the woman went to use the bathroom she slipped into Derrick's bedroom and stole from her jewelry box.
"It didn't dawn on me when she went out that she had taken anything, until the next day," Derrick said.
Derrick said the woman took her wedding ring, which was given to Derrick by her now-deceased husband, Charles Derrick.
The couple met at a dance when Charles Derrick was stationed in England during World War II, and they married in 1945.
They were together 50 years before his death and Derrick said the ring was one of her most prized possessions.
"It was important to me to wear it. I would like to have it back," Derrick said.
DSS officials are cautioning residents to check the ID badge of any employee who conducts home visits, and said it should be a county-issued badge with a photograph of the DSS worker.
Police believe there are other victims and are asking for the public's help to locate the suspect.
"It's just a sick way to prey on the elderly," Plyler said.
Anyone with information should call Monroe police at 704-282-4700.