Thieves posing as utility workers steal treasured rings from Echo Park woman

ECHO PARK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- An 86-year-old woman was scammed by thieves posing as utility workers, and now authorities are warning the neighborhood to be on the lookout.

Aurora Ramirez said the incident happened Friday around 11 a.m. She was inside her Echo Park home when a man claiming to be a utility worker said he needed to test her water.

"Because somebody put a chemical in the water and he wanted to make sure that it was clear enough for me to use it," she said.

The man spoke with Ramirez outside for several minutes as they looked at the water. Then he asked the woman to check a water house outside in the back yard.

Ramirez said she suspects another man was inside her home and stuffed a pillowcase with expensive jewelry that inside her drawers. The stolen items included her wedding and engagements rings from 1956.

"I said, 'Oh, my pillowcase. Maybe I dropped it on the floor.' I looked for it and then when I didn't see it, I went to the jewelry box and it was empty," she said.

The longtime Echo Park resident, who spends much of her time volunteering for the city, said she doesn't care about most of the items that are worth thousands of dollars. All she cares about are the rings.

Her husband Pete died five years ago. She said she doesn't want to replace them and that the pair of rings mean a lot to her. She is asking the men to return her rings - no questions asked.

"Return my rings. Throw them to my front yard - just throw it. I don't care," she said. "I don't think they would like this thing to happen to their mom - if they have a mom as old as I am."
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