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Thieves use 'distraction' tactic to steal jewelry, cash and rare coins from Tampa woman's home

Posted at 10:03 PM, Jul 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-17 23:16:10-04

TAMPA, Fla. — A Tampa woman is sharing her story so her neighbors don't become the next victim. Thieves stole cash, rare coins and jewelry from her Tampa House.

Police call it a "distraction theft." 

Rilla Abrell said she got a knock at the door. She was expecting a package so she opened her garage door. The man claimed to be a tree trimmer and said he was hired by her elderly neighbor. He walked her to the side of the home and distracted her for approximately 20 minutes.

The burglary happened on Monday around 5:30 p.m. 

"It really hurts. First of all, I feel violated. There was a stranger in my house," said Rilla Abrell.

Tampa Police responded. The thieves have not been caught. Abrell posted on the Nextdoor app to warn her neighbors about what happened. 

"Now can I even wear my jewelry out for fear somebody's going to think, oh gee, she's got jewelry we can steal from her," said Abrell.

Abrell said some of her jewelry and coins are irreplaceable. Her late parents gave them to her.

"They do not realize what they do to people who have wonderful memories from the jewelry," said Abrell.

Abrell remains grateful she was not hurt.

"I got away with my life and my two dogs. They never touched the dogs," she added.

Tampa Police said the victim described the man as clean-shaven, Hispanic male in his 30s. He was last seen wearing a blue shirt.