When a shiny, black Mercedes Benz parked in the driveway of an elderly neighbor’s home and two men in reflective safety vests and hard hats got out, it seemed suspicious to Oakland Park city commissioner Tim Lonergan.
He saw one of the men knock on 87-year-old Shirley 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.
Anyone with information about Bimbo’s whereabouts can contact BSO Det. David Agusti at (954) 202-3118 or report anonymous tips to Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477) or to www.browardcrimestoppers.org online. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $3,000 for information that leads to an arrest.