Hawaii church members protect seniors from suspicious strangers


Members of a church in Honolulu helped prevent seniors from being taken advantage of twice in the past month.

Now, they’re urging others to do the same.

The seniors were targeted in separate incidents by the same deceptive behavior.

Staff members at Olivet Baptist Church noticed two men pretending to be mechanics try to convince the unsuspecting women to give them thousands of dollars.

So they butted in.

Geri Young looked out the window to see two men fussing over an elderly woman’s car.

“I said this is the same thing that happened two weeks ago,” Young told KHON2.

During that incident, Young says the same men lured another elderly woman into the parking lot, promising to fix her car for a price.

Staff members intervened and called the police.

“We had to stop the lady from giving the money, because the first time, they wanted $2,000 from the lady and was willing to follow her to a bank machine,” Young said.

Joyce Nishimura says she was leaving the parking lot at Longs Drugs when two men approached her.

“The older one says, ‘Oh aunty, your tire is smoking.’ I said, ‘I don’t see any smoke.’ So he says, ‘No, let’s check it. It might be dangerous. You don’t want a fire,’” the 77-year-old recalled.

Concerned, she followed the men into Olivet Baptist Church’s parking lot.

They started taking Nishimura’s tire off, and that’s when staff members got involved and refused to leave her side.

“The gal told me, ‘Don’t you give them anything now.’ I said, ‘No, I’m not. I don’t intend to,’” Nishimura said.

“For them to come back a second time was kind of unbelievable,” said staff member Jamie McElrath. “Picked up the phone, called HPD right away. We knew they were up to no good.”

The men finally left.

Nishimura says she’s grateful and learned her lesson.

“You don’t feel good. You feel embarrassed,” she said. “These people are not honest. They’re going to get theirs. What goes around, comes around, as my sister says.”

Since the seniors did not give the men any money, technically, no crime was committed.

The Better Business Bureau says mechanics need to be licensed and urge consumers to research options for reputable businesses.

Olivet Baptist Church says if you see something, say something.

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