An elderly Pennsylvania man pointed an antique gun at shady workmen out of his home after they tried to charge him $11,700 to fix his roof, the Pocono Record reported Monday.
Walter Peppel, of Middle Smithfield Township, 112 miles north of Philadelphia, said he felt like he was being trapped in a scam when three men came to his house and told him his roof needed to be fixed.
They came into his home and looked into the roof, telling him it had a “water bubble” that needed fixing — even though it had been fully replaced in 1995.
Peppel, 86, said one of the men climbed into the roof cavity, and he claimed, dropped water on his head to convince him the work needed to be done.
“I looked up and saw water dripping from the ceiling, where there was never any water dripping before,” Peppel said. “That’s when I started to suspect I was being set up. I don’t know how they did it or what they used, but they somehow got water to drip where there was never any water before,” he added.
Peppel became angry when the men refused his requests for them to leave so he fetched his antique Winchester 94-32 rifle that had belonged to his father and pointed it at them.
The workmen initially declined to leave, telling Peppel that the gun was not loaded. They were right — the gun did not contain any ammunition — but they got enough of a scare to rush out of the property.
Local police warned residents to check workmen for identification before letting them into a property.
“The public needs to be aware of scam artists who target residents, especially older residents and those living alone,” Trooper David Diehl from the state police Swiftwater barracks said. “There was really no crime committed against the Peppels since they never authorized any work or handed over any money, but others have been bilked.”