Two men have been arrested for allegedly burglarizing a 92-year-old woman’s Bellport home last week while posing as chimney cleaners amid a rash of similar distraction burglaries on Long Island, Suffolk County police said.

Bruce Wimmer, 32, of Bohemia, and 28-year-old Michael Windland of Lake Ronkonkoma identified themselves as employees of a company called N.Y. Finest Home Improvements and said they were performing a chimney inspection at 2 p.m. Aug. 16, police said. Neither the county nor New York State has a record of such a business being licensed to perform home improvement in Suffolk or being incorporated in the state.

“While one of the men distracted the resident, the other stole $130 cash from church envelopes and $35 cash from bank envelopes,” police said in a news release. They also stole some of the victim’s prescription drugs, police added.

Read More: Utilties, Cops Warn of Distraction Burglaries, Collections Scams

The men told the victim that she needed $3,000 worth of chimney work and offered to drive the victim to her bank to withdraw the money, police said. When the victim declined, the suspects made arrangements to do the work later. After the duo left, the victim called police, who determined that the work was unnecessary.

Windland and Wimmer, who are both ex-cons, were each charged with burglary. Windland was additionally charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance.

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They will be arraigned Thursday at First District Court in Central Islip.

Fifth Squad detectives ask anyone else who feels they may have been a victim of this scam to call them at 631-854-8552.



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Timothy Bolger is the Managing Editor for the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.