"She was left at the bank after an alert teller thought something was amiss and asked the suspect to come inside to complete the transaction," the police said.
For anyone with selfish motives, innocent people with Alzheimer's can become easy targets. A man named Jacob Tom preyed on a helpless elderly woman with Alzheimer's and dementia at a time when she was left alone at home.
Trying to scam her for money, he managed to convince the woman that she owed him for home repair work that he actually never did. The Denham Springs Police Department wrote on Facebook, "We believe the male subject in these photos went to her home at a time she was alone, convinced her that she owed him a large sum of money for work he had done on her house (untrue), and took her from her home to the bank to withdraw said money."
Jacob Tom tricked the woman and drove her all the way to Regions Bank on S. Range Avenue so that she could withdraw $3,000 from her bank account. But to the elderly woman's luck, the employees at the bank suspected that something was wrong and refused to give the money. What they did instead, was contact the authorities before the man could carry out the fraud. Also, at the same bank was a family member of the victim who was present while the woman with Alzheimer's was in there.
The Denham Springs Police Department wrote, "She was left at the bank after an alert teller thought something was amiss and asked the suspect to come inside to complete the transaction. A member of the victim’s family happened to be inside of the bank at the time."
"When they pulled out of the line, her family member was able to get her out of the vehicle and he drove off," said Amber Fairburn with the Denham Springs Police Department, as reported by WAFB.
The elderly woman is out of danger now and the police informed WBRZ that she is safe. They are now on the lookout for Jacob Tom and suspect that he may "have left the state of Louisiana, possibly traveling to New Jersey."
"Jacob's mother was apprehended in Alabama for her involvement in hiding him from law enforcement. The Denham Springs Police Department is still asking for the public's help, in his apprehension," the police department added.
A number of people were appalled by the way the man tried to take advantage of the woman and her medical condition. Brenda Cable commented on the Denham Springs Police Department post saying, "So glad this woman is safe and unharmed. The angels were watching over her for sure. Hope the bank and her family can help secure her accounts so this can’t happen again it’s so hard to see this happening to Alzheimer’s/dementia people."
Marcy Guess wrote, "God was watching out for her! Thank goodness a family member was close by to help! Hope he's identified and caught!"
Elderly citizens are often financially exploited and businesses are trained by The Office of Elderly Affairs to keep a lookout for signs where seniors are being abused in this way.
"If you suspect that an elder is being abused or neglected or financially exploited, we have an obligation to report that so that we can attempt to stop the abuse from occurring and remedy the issue at hand," said Ebony Thomas-Phillips, director of Elderly Protective Services. "If they all of sudden start to make withdrawals, large withdrawals, things that are not customary of that particular customer," could be red flags, including someone visibly looking uneasy when they walk into a bank or overdrafts appearing in accounts that typically have funds.
Ebony Thomas-Phillips also urged people to protected elders as a community.