HAMMOND | A community activist was canvasing the North Hammond neighborhood Friday night offering a reward for information to help capture men who stole money from a 100-year-old woman.
"We are trying to help apprehend these persons so this won't happen again," Andrew Holmes said.
He is director of the Chicago-based No Guns, No Violence and associated with Community Against Violence. He said the organizations are offering a $500 reward.
"This isn't a one-time affair. This is somebody's job every day to get up every morning, see who is living by themselves so they can victimize them," Holmes said.
Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller said late Friday the department did not have anyone in custody in the theft.
Hammond police Lt. Richard Hoyda said the septuagenarian fell victim to a common scam about 4:30 p.m. Thursday when she heard someone knocking on her front door and window. A man asked her to come outside to see how rain gutters had damaged her home's exterior.
The woman said she didn't need his help. The man then asked if he could come inside for a glass of water. After letting him in, she realized a second man had entered the house without permission.
She said she reached for a telephone, but the men took the phone away.
The woman was uninjured, but she later found that money was missing from a ransacked room and closet.
One of the men was described as Hispanic, 5 feet 7 inches tall, 190 pounds with brown hair. He was wearing a blue baseball cap.
Holmes said he and other members of the organizations were preparing to host an event for seniors when they read an online news alert about the theft.
"So we stopped right then and there to come out here and focus on this," he said. "We are going door to door, passing out fliers and asking people that if they saw anything to call our number 1-800-883-5587 or call Hammond police."
Police are asking anyone with information about the crime to contact the Hammond Police Department's Detective Bureau at (219) 852-2906.