St. Petersburg, Florida -- 10 News is learning of another bug spray attack. On Tuesday afternoon, a South Tampa grandmother was doused with chemicals and robbed by a man she thought she was hiring to do yard work for her. Well, it turns out she's not the first elderly woman in the Bay area this has happened to.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office says back in December of last year a similar theft happened to an elderly woman living in the Pasadena community of St. Petersburg in the Pasadena Golf Club Estates neighborhood.
Several months later, the woman is still so shaken and scared that she'll be targeted again that she doesn't want to speak with the media, according to a family friend.
The woman's neighbor, Susan Taylor, says the theft is still upsetting to her.
"It makes me angry that somebody can use that much energy to come up with that kind of a scheme when he could just go get a job."
10 News told Taylor that just this week another woman was targeted the same way as her own neighbor was.
"I think we've all been a little on edge and I think we all are looking out our windows more often," Taylor says.
In the case around the holiday's, a Hispanic man in his 30's and an older white man talked her elderly neighbor into having some repairs made to her sea wall. They had a spray bottle and said it was full of a special kind of epoxy.
Somehow, they sprayed her with it and then told her the chemicals would burn her and her jewelry needed to be soaked in milk immediately. She complied but they swiped a 5-carat diamond ring from her.
A family friend says while one man stole her jewelry another man slipped into another room of her home and stole more items from her, "wiping her out" before taking off.
"I never thought this could happen in our neighborhood," Taylor says.
It's the same thing a South Tampa grandmother said after a man knocked on her back door claiming he'd done work for her neighbor. He wanted to know if Pat Jordan wanted a tree chopped down. He claimed the normal price for the work would be $700 but he explained that he could do it for $150 cash.
She allowed him to come into her home. She paid him and that's when he explained that he'd have to spray for spiders inside and outside her house first.
"So then he said, 'I have some spray here that we need to spray the inside of your house because if I spray the outside the spiders will come in.' So, he start spraying and then he turned around and sprayed me," Jordan says.
She says the man claimed that spray had acid in and she needed to slip out of her jewelry fast and soak it so the acid wouldn't eat through it.
"He had it all in his hand and I said 'give it back'. I said, 'give it back I'm going to call the police'. So I started to chase him and he ran out of the door."
Tampa Police are now contacting the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office to compare notes in hopes of catching the thieves. In the meantime, Captain Ruben Delgado, of the Tampa Police Department, has a critical message for the public.
"We just caution you - don't let anybody in your house you don't know especially when you're by yourself if there are any questions that you have call us and we'll come out and we'll help you guys out."
The suspect is Hispanic, in his mid 30's, and weighs 175 pounds. He stands 5'11 to 6 feet tall. He has shoulder-length dirty blonde hair and was wearing a bushy untrimmed mustache. He was driving a White SUV that he left running while he was in Jordan's home.
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Tammie Fields, 10 News