John and Martha live in a quiet neighborhood and never think twice about answering the door. That is until last week; 11 a.m. is about the time their granddaughter usually stops by to check on them, today the doorbell was not Julie but was a nice looking young man. He quickly introduced himself and said he was in dire straits for a restroom; would they mind if he used theirs. Being of the age when restroom urgency is a daily occurrence Mary didn’t think twice and let him in the house. He hurried in and locked the bathroom door, in the 10 minutes he remained in the bathroom Mary tried to give him some privacy but heard her cabinet doors open and was somewhat concerned about what he was doing. After a few more minutes John knocked on the door and asked if the young man was all right, the young man bolted out of the bathroom and ran out of the house without another word. John found their bathroom ransacked, pill bottles opened and spilled all over the floor, and he called the police.
When the officer arrived he found John and Martha both shaken, they have lived here for over 20 years and had never been afraid until today. The officer explained that this was the second call today with the same description; he suspected that the young man was looking for narcotics. Martha didn’t think he fit the usual drug user type; he was clean cut and seemed nice. The officer explained that he may have been looking for narcotics to sell, prescription narcotics are a hot item in western Colorado. The perpetrators often watch neighborhoods to see who lives there and what their patterns are, they target older adults who will likely take a lot of medications. The officer politely told them that they should be very careful about letting strangers into their home; it’s also a good idea to vary their routine and talk to their neighbors about what happened. Martha didn’t like the idea of telling others, she was embarrassed that they let this happen. This is a common statement from elders when they are abused or exploited. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, but not alerting others does not give them the opportunity to protect themselves. Very intelligent people are victimized every day right here in Montrose; the shame belongs with the perpetrators not the victims.
June 28th at the Holiday Inn Express, the Montrose Police Department, Adult Protective services and others will educate the public about elder abuse and exploitation, the event is free and open to all. Call Madison at Region 10 for more information 970-765-3125.