By Jim Shilander
An 86-year-old San Clemente man was the victim of a scam Tuesday, resulting in the loss of $200,000 worth of family heirloom jewelry.
Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Jim Amormino said the elderly man, Luciano Capote, 86, was walking along his cul-de-sac Tuesday at around 11 a.m. when he noticed a white sport utility vehicle pass him and pull over. The man, described as a 50-year-old white male, told Capote that he had been repairing damaged roofs in the neighborhood and offered to inspect Capote’s roof for no charge. Amormino said Capote initially was reluctant, but eventually decided to allow the man to do so after he noticed a 12-year-old boy with him, whom Capote assumed was the man’s son.
Amormino said the man got a ladder out of his vehicle and went up on the roof, while the boy stayed with Capote inside.
“The 12-year-old was definitely trying to keep him occupied,” Amormino said.
After some time, the man came back into the home with a broken piece of a shingle and said he needed to inspect the house to see if he could find any leaks.
The man proceeded to walk throughout the house, Amormino said. Every time Capote tried to speak to the man or find where he was, the boy would either intervene or warn the man. When the 50-year-old finally “found the leak,” he asked his son to go outside with him to help, while Capote waited inside. After approximately 45 minutes to an hour, Capote went to look for the duo and discovered the vehicle was gone.
“This was well planned,” Amormino said. “He was probably just driving around San Clemente, looking for an elderly person.”
Capote’s wife Elizabeth said her husband was understandably disturbed by what had happened.
“He’s depressed and upset,” Elizabeth said. “He felt like he put too much faith in people. And he’s sorry, because it was my stuff that was taken. He’s feeling violated.”
Elizabeth Capote said that since most of the items were heirlooms, some passed down from her grandmother, she likely would not be able to recover any monies, since there were no receipts.