A man who donned a reflective safety vest and hard hat to talk his way into his elderly victim’s home back in February turned himself in last Thursday at the Broward Sheriff’s Office Oakland Park office. The Feb. 24 incident was foiled by the victim’s astute neighbor, Oakland Park City Commissioner Tim Lonergan.
The commissioner noticed Bimbo’s shiny, black Mercedes Benz parked in the driveway of his neighbor, 87-year-old Shirley Sharkey. Lonergan watched as two men in reflective safety vests and hard hats got out, which seemed odd to him. He saw one of the men knock Sharkey’s door. Sharkey allowed him inside, but Lonergan thought it was unusual that the second man waited and slipped in alone through the open front door.
So Lonergan, took photographs of the Mercedes and its license tag. Then he went to check on Sharkey. When he walked in, he saw one visitor talking to her near the door to her back yard. His accomplice was just walking out of her bedroom. Sharkey had no idea he was even in the residence. The men said they were there to check for leaks, but Lonergan didn’t recognize them as city workers, and neither wore city identification badges.
As he peppered them with questions, they eventually fled in the Mercedes. Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives say the vehicle belongs to 49-year-old Tom Bimbo of Pompano Beach. Lonergan also identified Bimbo in a photo line-up as one of the two scam artists. There is a warrant for his arrest on one charge of burglary of an occupied dwelling.
“The best defense against reprehensible and despicable scam artists who target the elderly is alert relatives, friends and neighbors like Commissioner Lonergan. I commend him for his great intuition and swift response,” – Sheriff Scott Israel.