BELLPORT - Officials say new bias charges have been brought against two accused chimney scammers.
Bruce Wimmer, 28, and Michael Windland, 32, were arrested last month when police say they scammed a 92-year-old Bellport woman. The two allegedly stole cash and pills while telling the woman they were inspecting her chimney.
Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota says the duo also scammed a 77-year-old Huntington woman. The niece of the alleged victim says her aunt caught one of the men in her bedroom. She says she called police after finding her jewelry had been stolen.
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Police say the men charged in the scam would target their victims after paying for marketing lists. They say Wimmer and Windland would specifically look for people older than 70 who had older homes that might need repairs.
The men were arraigned on elevated charges of committing hate crimes for targeting older people.
Spota says one of the two men confessed to the crime.
"He specifically stated, 'I know we took advantage of people, but I had to feed my kids and put food on the table,’” said Spota.
Police say there are four scam victims so far, but believe there are more. They also announced the arrest a third man in connection with the chimney scam.
Authorities say aside from stealing from their victims, they tried to charge them $3,000 for phony repairs.
Anyone who believes they have been targeted is urged to call Suffolk police at 631-854-8552.