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FARMERS BRANCH (CBSDFW.COM) – There’s a strange scam being committed across the city of Farmers Branch that has criminals using dead squirrels to trying and trick people out of their money.

Police say there is at least one suspect posing as a roofer and telling residents they saw a squirrel run through the vent into their attic. They then offer to get the squirrel out — for a price.

“They go up into the attic and come down with a dead squirrel,” explained Farmers Branch Police Detective David Laisure. “But the squirrel’s been dead for days, at least.”

The scammers appear to be targeting senior citizens, and specifically elderly people who attend Royal Haven Baptist Church. “One of my parishioners said ‘I have to tell you the squirrel story,'” recalled Pastor Rick Dorman. “I didn’t know anything about it, but she told me this happened to her.”

Dorman said the older woman had actually paid the scammers, but sensed something was off and asked for a closer look at the dead squirrel. “She’s had experience with hunting,” Dorman said. “She could tell that thing was petrified and had been dead awhile. So, she tried to get her money back, but they got in a van and ran off.”

When Dorman made an announcement to his congregation about the scam he discovered at least five or six others had been approached by the crooks. He says all of the victims are at least 70 years old.

“We have a picture directory in the church foyer that new members can take with them,” he said. “It’s possible the scammers looked through that, picked older looking folks, and went to their addresses.” Those directories have since been removed from the church.

Police believe the suspect is in his 20s and is either Hispanic or white. The man has also been seen with another middle-aged male.

Anyone with information about the scam or the crooks involved can submit an anonymous tip online at Farmers branch PD tip 411.

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