Thief loots elderly Troy woman’s mortar-rigged safe

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Troy — A man posing as a tree trimmer looted a mortar shell-rigged safe from a 90-year-old woman’s home Tuesday, police said.

The incident occurred about 11 a.m. in the 1700 block of Wattles, near John R, according to Troy Police Sgt. Meghan Lehman.

“The victim said the man came to her door and she allowed him inside to discuss some possible tree trimming,” Lehman said. “Once inside, he forced her into one room while he went to the safe in another room.”

The woman was not injured and called police after she heard the man leave the house. He is described as white with a medium build and between 48 and 55 years old. It is believed he drove away in a white SUV, Lehman said.

Contents of the safe were not disclosed but described by police as valuables. It is not believed anything else was taken.

The Michigan State Police was called in because the safe was connected to two World War II-era mortar shells to make it appear it was armed with explosives to possibly deter burglaries, Lehman said.

“The shells were not live,” she said. “Her husband served in the World War II Pacific Theater.”

Lehman said it is the second time the woman has been victimized in a home invasion. The previous incident was in 2013.

“This is the time of year that residents have to be particularly careful about persons coming to their home offering various yard or home services,” Lehman said.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call police at (248) 524-3477.

(248) 338-0319