Siblings Accused Of Preying On The Elderly In OKC

Monday, April 14th 2014, 10:40 pm
By: News 9

Oklahoma City police arrest a brother and sister accused of using hugs and church talk to steal from the elderly.

Police said Sandra Keel and Johnny Watkins preyed on senior citizens while they were shopping.

On April 5, Mary Cochnauer said she was at PetSmart at 2932 N.W. 63rd St. to get items for her new dog when Keel approached her.

"She said, ‘Oh woman, I know you,' and I looked at her and I said, ‘No, I don't,' and she said, ‘Oh yeah, yeah, sure, let me see. Where could it be,'" Cochnauer explained.

Cochnauer said Keel then asked her where she went to church.

"I said, ‘Village Baptist,' and she said, "That's it lady, that's it," and she just hugged me," Cochnauer said.

Cochnauer said she reached back and grabbed the cart where her purse was because the hug was so awkward.

Oklahoma City police said Keel and Watkins still managed to steal Cochnauer's wallet.

Investigators said the suspects used her credit cards at Target, racking up more than $1100 in charges.

Two days later, police said the same two suspects did the same thing to another elderly woman at Crest Foods at 4503 N.W. 23rd.

Court documents show Keel and Watkins charged about $215 on the second victim's cards.

The Oklahoma City Police Department Director of TRIAD, a coalition that aims to prevent crimes against the elderly, said the top reason seniors are targeted in Oklahoma City is money.

"Money is the number one reason, because the seniors today hold the wealth for this generation, then you throw in trusting and vulnerable," Sheryl Presley with TRIAD said.

Cochnauer suggested the siblings truly find faith instead of lying about it.

"I was really crushed that someone would use the church as a thieving method," Cochnauer said.

Court records show Keel was convicted of exploitation of the elderly in November 2013 and received a 10-year suspended sentence.

She is currently being held in the Oklahoma County Jail on two counts of exploitation of the elderly.