Man steals from 90-year-old Troy woman's mortar-rigged safe

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A 90-year-old woman opened the door of her Troy home to a man she thought was a tree trimmer.

But he forced his way into a room and robbed her and tried to steal from a safe rigged with mortar shells.

"He pushed a door open and the last I remember, when I came to, after he knocked me out, he dragged me into a room," she said.

The suspect is described as a white male with a medium build, about 48 to 55 years old.

The elderly resident has a badly bruised wrist. He twisted that wrist and painfully pulled her here along the floor into her bedroom.  Then he slapped a cloth soaked with something over her nose and mouth.

"When he pushed that thing over my face whatever that thing was, I remember falling over," she said.

He then made his way to her safe. But her late husband had rigged the safe with mortar shells he brought home from World War II. He fought in the South Pacific with the US Navy.

The mortar shells were intended to scare an intruder, as a safe guard. They are not live rounds and could not be fired.

But the suspect found the safe slightly open and carefully pulled some valuables out and escaped. After her 911 call, Troy police and fire stopped in their tracks when they saw the mortar shells.

"My husband (had them as) sort of a souvenir," she said. "It was empty. We had them there for 34 years."

The resident said that the suspect may have driven off in a white sport utility vehicle.