“I think a lot of times people will see an opportunity, especially with a senior that might have some cognitive issues,” said OPD Investigator Rick Belik.
Investigator Belik says recently a 74-year-old Omaha woman was publicly appointed a guardian because her schizophrenia and dementia kept her from living independently. In June, the guardian contacted police when she realized while living on her own, someone had financially exploited the vulnerable adult.
“I think she noticed that there was an additional name on this victim's banking account and didn't really know why,” said Belik.
Police say in March, 22-year-old Anthony Rodgers added his name to the woman’s credit union account. Rodgers listed Burton Heating and Cooling on his Metro Credit Union signature; an affidavit states that is how police eventually connected the dots between the woman and Rodgers.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever seen anything like that,” said Belik.
Belik says the former Burton Plumbing employee made a service call to the woman’s home on December 30th. The next day he opened an account at her credit union. Police say over the next few months, Rodgers deposited checks written by her to him and transferred thousands of dollars from her account to his.
“We have people that are employed in all types of professions that aren't always honest,” said Shayne Schiermeister.
Last week police arrested Rodgers for abuse of a vulnerable adult. Shayne Schiermeister with Adult Protective Services says this happens far too often.
“There are people in this world who look for an easy way to take advantage of people and obviously the most vulnerable are the easiest to take advantage of,” said Schiermeister.
Schiermeister says to protect your loved ones check their financial statements regularly and warn them of scams. If something doesn’t seem right, don’t hesitate to contact APS or Police.
The owner of Burton Heating and Cooling says he was shocked when he heard what police say Rodgers did. He says Rodgers had stopped showing up to work and was let go months ago. Rodgers is currently being held on $25,000 bond.