Men posing as workers stole cash, jewelry from home, couple says

ESCONDIDO, Calif. – An Escondido couple is warning others after they say men posing as workers stole thousands of dollars and jewelry from their home.

For 59 years, Ernest and Vada Cassell have lived in their Escondido home, where they have always felt safe and secure -- until recently.

The couple said around 2 p.m. Monday, they greeted two men who pulled up into their driveway in a black pickup truck.

They said one man stayed in the truck while another inquired about measuring their backyard.

“Took him here to the back of the house. Walked over to the fence and he took some measurements of the fence going up and down. He said, 'we’re going to put fiber optics right here along this fence,'” Vada said.

She said meanwhile, he was using a walkie-talking to communicate with someone.

“They were chitchatting. Five minutes, or two minutes, and I couldn’t understand what they were saying,” Vada said.

She says the men left minutes later.

When the couple went back inside, it wasn’t long before they noticed what the other man had really been up to.

“Stuff was pulled out of my dresser drawer, and that’s what made me look,” Vada said.

She discovered about $3,500 in cash was gone, along with most of her jewelry and several items of sentimental value.

“Things that I had for a long time from [Ernest] and little things from the great grandkids that they had given us for Christmas. Little trinkets and stuff that I had in there. They’re irreplaceable,” Vada said.

The Cassells said they mostly feel disappointed because they believe in giving.

“If they wanted something, if they asked, we’d give it to them. That wouldn’t hurt us at all, but it’s just the idea that they steal,” Vada said.

They are confident the law will eventually catch up with the crooks but in the meantime, they’re sharing their story so they can warn others.

“I just want to save somebody else from going through it, from feeling violated like we do,” Vada said.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department is looking into the case.