Trooper Chris Harcourt said the man went to the 93-year-old victim's home on CR 250 East, northeast of Greencastle, under the guise that his car had run out of gas and that he needed to use the telephone.
"He asked the woman if he could come inside and use the phone to call for help," Harcourt explained. "She let him in the house."Once inside, Harcourt said, the man pretended to use the phone but told the woman that it wasn't working. When she left the room to get another phone, the suspect opened the woman's purse, which was sitting on a nearby table, and took her credit card out.
Police believe the man left the woman's house and immediately drove to Greencastle where he used the card to withdraw money from several ATMs around town. He also used the card to buy items at the Bainbridge Cork 'N Cap liquor store and BP gas station, according to credit card statements.
Sometime later, Harcourt explained, the suspect drove to Hendricks County where he made a few stops in the Avon area before ending his spree at the Meijer store on 38th Street in Indianapolis.
Police have video from a surveillance camera showing the man walking out of the Meijer store with a 32- or 33-inch flat-screen television in his arms.
In all, police believe the suspect made close to a dozen withdrawals and purchases totaling around $3,000.
The police brought pictures of the suspect, taken from the surveillance camera, to the BannerGraphic in hopes that someone may recognize him and call police. Police have reason to believe the man may live in the northern part of Putnam County.
"We hope that if his picture is put in the newspaper, someone will recognize him and call us to report it," Harcourt said.
He said he didn't know how the man chose his victim or if he specifically targeted her because of her age. She was not physically harmed in the incident.
"Everyone, regardless of age, should be cautious about letting someone they don't know inside their house," he said.
Harcourt said he hopes this incident will serve to remind people of all ages to be more cautious, especially during the holiday season.
"These thieves will look for any opportunity to take advantage of someone else," Harcourt said. "I think the public should be more aware, especially this time of year."
Anyone who thinks they may recognize the suspect is asked to call the ISP Putnamville Post at 653-5272 and request to speak with Trooper Harcourt or Trooper Adam Edwards.