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Jonesboro man
swindled in linoleum scam

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

An elderly man in Jonesboro was robbed of over $2,500 in money and jewels when two con artists entered his home under the guise of linoleum salesmen.

Sam Campbell, 82, was home alone when two white males in their mid- to late-50s conned their way into his home on Rhett Butler Drive.

While one robber showed Campbell samples of linoleum tile, the other ransacked two bedrooms, stealing money, a diamond-studded wedding band, a gold watch, gold tie tacks, and Campbell's wedding ring.

The entire robbery took place within 10 minutes around 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

One of the two white males was described in the police report as "tall," six-feet, to six-feet, two-inches tall, while the other was described as "short," five-feet to five-feet, eight-inches tall.

Both suspects were said to have left the scene in a white truck. Jonesboro Police Major Brad Johnson, who reported to the scene just after 4 p.m. on Tuesday, said the incident is "really unusual, even in the city of Jonesboro.

"It was not a typical home invasion where a weapon was brandished, or a person was pushed out of the way or anything," he said. "They acted like they knew him and they talked their way into the house."

Campbell's wife of 53 years, Jeannett, was not at home at the time of the robbery. She said her husband has exhibited early signs of Alzheimer's disease and that the robbers probably used that to their advantage.

"It was pretty well-planned because they kept asking what time I would be back," said Mrs. Campbell. "It was pretty obvious they were staking us out."

Mrs. Campbell said in the 40 years the couple has lived in their home, they were robbed once 20 years ago by a neighbor's teenage child, they knew.

She was thankful the robbery didn't take a violent turn.

"When I had walked in there and he told me what had happened, I said that those were only material things," said Mrs. Campbell. "I can deal without them, but I cannot deal without [Sam]. I'm just glad they didn't kill him, because that could have easily happened."

Johnson said the city prohibits anyone from selling things door-to-door without a permit, and even non-profits and religious organizations must register with the police before making solicitations.

"If I don't call for service, then my girls are instructed not to open the door for anybody," said Johnson. "If they are going door-to-door, they are probably up to no good, because we just don't allow that in Jonesboro."

Johnson said the city will use its phone tree system to remind Jonesboro residents of the dangers of opening their doors to solicitors.

If anyone has any clues as to the identity of the robbers, they should call the Jonesboro Police Department non-emergency administration line at (770) 748-7407.