Elderly victim in distraction theft speaks out amid break in case

Here’s an update to a story 7News first brought you: an elderly woman robbed by a distraction thief. Tonight, there’s a break in the case. 7’s Rosh Lowe gives you The Lowedown.

Betty Paulson: "We realized how lucky we were that I didn’t let them in."

Betty Paulson is 88 years old. In mid-June, she is the victim of a heartless crime in Miami Shores, say cops, where thieves steal two rings.

Betty Paulson: "He reached for the screen door, and I wasn’t about to let him pull it open, and I said, ‘Walk around that way.’"

The crooks, say cops, knock on the front door and tell Betty a neighbor has asked them to build a wall in her backyard. They take Betty around back.

Betty’s daughter, Thea Paulson, was home at the time. She confronts several men in her bedroom. One guy was on a ladder peering into the attic.

Thea Paulson: "I grabbed the gentleman off the ladder, pulled him down and told him to get out of the house now, ’cause I was now I was worried about my parents being in the backyard, ’cause now I knew something was very wrong."

Afterwards, she realizes they have stolen two rings.

Thea Paulson: A gorgeous diamond ring that my Aunt Nadine had given me."

Cops have charged Jim Alvarez in that case. They also suspect him in a case first profiled on The Lowedown where an 86-year-old was brought to her backyard because con men said she needed her trees trimmed.

Miami Shores Police Chief Kevin Lystad: "They lured her into the backyard, said, ‘Get away from the front door,’ and most people, when they go out and greet somebody, don’t think about locking the door behind them."

Victim: "This is the chest where all the silver was."

The victim in that case was not able to identify a suspect, but cops were able to get this shot of a white truck from a surveillance camera.

Miami Shores Detective Natasha McKay: We were able to get the tag number of that vehicle, and that’s what gave us a lot more information as far as the suspects."

And there’s more. Cops in Coral Gables have tied Alvarez to a case there where an elderly woman had $30,000 worth of jewelry taken.

Coral Gables Police Officer Lauren Poole: "Our detectives were also able to add charges to Jim Alvarez in clearing one of our cases dealing with distraction burglaries were also able to add charges."

Betty with this message to Alvarez.

Betty Paulson: "That you’re young and you have a whole life to go ahead of you, and you don’t have to join up to rob people."

The white truck was impounded. Miami Shores Police say this is an ongoing investigation, and they are working with the Broward Sheriff’s Office, in addition to Coral Gables Police, as they continue to search for suspects.

If you have any information on any of these burglaries, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.