Sheriff Judd coins new word for criminals

The Polk County Sheriff's Office is trying to identify a man and woman posing as prospective home buyers then using that ruse to steal jewelry from distracted retirees.

Sheriff Grady Judd said this new type of elderly distraction scam calls for a new word: "rasperts," but it can be used for all criminals, he said.

"Raspert, R-A-S-P-E-R-T," Sheriff Judd explained. "A raspert is a criminal. They're nasty; they're mean; they're conniving; they commit felonies and misdemeanors, and they aggravate the good people of the community."

Since Halloween, the sheriff's office has investigated four similar cases in which, victims said, a couple approached their home looking to buy it.

"And these rasperts are showing up and one's distracting them pretending to look at the residence while the other is stealing the jewelry," Sheriff Judd said.

So far, detectives estimate the duo has gotten away with about $7,000 worth of jewelry.

A surveillance image shows them leaving one home, driving a white Chrysler 300.

"I fear they're working the Polk, Osceola, Orange County area," Sheriff Judd said.

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The sheriff's office released the following description of the people they're looking for: a Hispanic male in his 40s, 5'7", 200 lbs. with short brown hair; and a white female in her 30s, 5'9", 175 lbs. with long blonde hair.

A reward through Crimestoppers awaits whoever can identify them.

"You dial 1-800-226-TIPS, you'll make green cash to buy Christmas presents, and the rasperts will go to jail where they'll eat pressed turkey on Christmas day," Sheriff Judd said.

Raspert is not officially a word yet. Sheriff Judd would like it to be, and he welcomes all to use his word.