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Brazen burglary suspects steal $14,000 worth of jewelry from elderly couple

Photo source: WEAR

Escambia County Sheriff's Deputies are searching for four men accused of conning an elderly couple and stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of jewelry.

On Friday, four men described as Hispanic males dressed in construction worker's clothing made off with $14,000 worth of jewelry.

"They're the crud of the earth," said neighbor, Judy Chesnut. "When you go into somebody's home and violate their safety and concerns, they need to be caught."

Chestnut, who lives down the road from the victims, said this doesn't sound like her small town.

"Normally it's quiet," said Chestnut. "We do have a few things that happen, but little things."

The homeowners don't want to speak on camera, but tell us the thieves were posing as workers from a tree removal company. The wife was lured away from the house, showing one suspect the property line as another suspect looked on. Two other suspects were already inside the couple's home. Donnie Bass, who grew up with the victims said it's a pretty brazen plan - especially around these parts.

"Everybody up here's got guns and they know how to use them, too," said Bass. "I was those three or four, I'd leave Florida because I guarantee they're going to be watching out for them."

The woman's husband was inside at the time. He confronted the suspects. They fed him a line about needing to test the water due to a break in the main but the homeowner wasn't buying it. He reached for his gun, and the suspects took off.

"There might have been a couple less thieves if he'd have gotten his gun," said Bass.

Chestnut said although it makes her a little on edge, she's always on guard.

"I am very skeptical when people come to the door," said Chestnut. "Unless they show valid ID."

And her four-legged alarm systems give her peace.

"I have my dogs," said Chestnut. "They let me know when anyone comes up!"

By the way they were dressed, Bass said there is no telling if the suspects were really part of a construction crew.

"They'll get mad if they try to rob me," said Bass. "I don't have a nickel's worth of jewelry!"

Now, this close-knit community is keeping an extra eye on what goes on.

"We actually don't have a neighborhood watch," said Chestnut. "But we're our own neighborhood watch!"

The suspects fled the area in a silver, newer model four-door truck. If you have any information that may help investigators solve this case, contact either the Escambia or Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Offices.

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