Portsmouth Police Chief Debra Brewer addressed a family’s concern that a crime against an elderly Portsmouth woman was ignored by officers. Captain Brewer is currently the interim chief but it will all be made official next week at a swearing-in ceremony. We’ll broadcast that live on SCDN.
I spoke with two concerned family members earlier in the week and I took their questions to the top of the Portsmouth Police Department. The chief got back to me with answers. Let’s look at what happened and what Chief Brewer told me.
Three scammers pretended to work for Children Services to target an elderly Portsmouth woman on June 12. The trio showed up at a 16th Street apartment around 2 pm and told her they were from Scioto County Children Services. They claimed they needed to see her apartment.
Even though the woman who lived there didn’t have children, she allowed them to come in. She described her visitors as a man and two women, all three in their fifties. The three walked through the entire apartment and even opened the refrigerator. They did not take anything.
When the elderly woman’s daughter learned of the visit the next day, she called Children Services to check. A representative told her no visit was scheduled for that name or address.
Over the weekend, I was contacted by the woman’s great-granddaughter. She asked where SCDN got the information we shared in the article. I explained it all came from the police logs.
Later in the week, the woman’s granddaughter posted this on social media:
“My 78 year old grandmother was scared outta her mind last Friday. Three individuals, two female and one male posing to be children services came to her residence. They showed her badges and said there was a complaint that she had children that weren’t being fed. She let them in. They searched her residents every room. She couldn’t followed three different people at the same time. The following Monday the family talked to children services and they have no record of anyone ever being at her residence!! PPD were called. Their answer” impersonating someone is not illegal” there is nothing we can do. Someone explains this to me please!!!! she is terrified they will come back. This needs to be shared!! What were they there for ?!!! I’m furious.”
I contacted the granddaughter who told me her grandmother was terrified these people were coming back and frustrated that police said it wasn’t a crime to impersonate someone.
I immediately sent a message to Chief Brewer to ask what was going on.
The Chief’s Response
The first thing Chief Brewer wanted was the name of any officer who had told the woman that impersonating someone was not a crime.
“If you have contact with the person that told you that, could you please get the officer’s name and relay it to me. It is illegal for someone to impersonate anyone for gain.”
I’d already thought of that and asked for the name of the officer that said that. The granddaughter said that her grandmother could not remember the name of the officer.
Additionally, Chief Brewer said, “I spoke with the Sgt. on duty that day. He advised me that he was contacted by the officer on the call. The officer advised Ms. Cooper did not want anything done, just wanted officers to be aware of what had happened.”
I relayed the Chief’s response to family members and suggested that the woman get back in contact with the police and let them know that they do indeed want further action in the case.