May 15, 2013

South Portland woman accused of stealing from the elderly

Police say she gained entry into elderly residents' homes by saying she was from 'the agency.'

By David Hench
Staff Writer

SOUTH PORTLAND – A South Portland woman has been charged with burglary and theft for allegedly stealing from elderly residents after entering their homes on the pretext that she was from "the agency" and was conducting inspections.

Margaret Wilkes

Courtesy South Portland Police

Police on Wednesday morning arrested Margaret Wilkes, 53, on three counts of burglary and three counts of theft. Police say more charges could be coming because they believe she has committed similar crimes in other communities.

Police said Wilkes entered residents' homes and asked for medical information or conducted "inspections," and at the same time stole cash and jewelry, said South Portland Det. Sgt. Steve Webster.

Wilkes preyed on elderly people in homes and in apartment buildings, Webster said. The victims weren't just upset about the loss of the money but also jewelry that had more sentimental than monetary value, including gifts from family members that they had possessed for many years, Webster said.

Police were first notified in April about such a theft, then another on May 5. The most recent incident was Monday, Webster said.

South Portland police worked with counterparts in Portland to identify and locate Wilkes, and arrested her on Main Street. A search warrant for her homeon Bonny Bank Road led to the recovery of some of the stolen items, Webster said.

Wilkes was being held on $500 bail at the Cumberland County Jail in Portland.


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