Elderly woman speaks out after robber attacks her at home - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Elderly woman speaks out after robber attacks her at home

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MIAMI (WSVN) -- An elderly South Florida woman is speaking out after she was attacked and robbed at her Little Havana home by a woman who was posing as a spiritual advisor.

According to police, Rafaela Barrios Mendoza offered to cleanse 90-year-old Siria Lopez's home of spirits but rather was caught allegedly stealing items. "I have torment in my head and pain here," said Lopez as she points to her leg.

Lopez was gardening Tuesday afternoon when Mendoza approached her, pretended to know her and asked her for a glass of water. The two then went inside the home, Lopez went to the kitchen and Mendoza went into a bedroom adjacent to the kitchen.

Lopez's daughter, who chose to remain anonymous, was sleeping inside the home when her mother caught Mendoza in the bedroom. "My mom asked her, 'What are you doing?' and she said, 'Oh, I'm here to bless your bedroom, sanctify.' And my mother is not a believer in any such nonsense," said the victim's daughter. "And she said wait a minute, we don't believe in that, and what are you doing in my room, and immediately said, 'Where are my bracelets?'"

Lopez said when she then handed Mendoza the glass of water, she noticed her gold bracelets on her dresser were gone, as well as money she had kept in a money box. She quickly demanded her valuables back, a struggle ensued and Mendoza ran off.

As Mendoza escaped, she dropped papers, which included her address, prompting police to search her home. "Robbery without a weapon, a burglary assault battery," said a judge during Mendoza's bond court hearing Wednesday. She was later denied bond.

Police suspect this suspected con artist may be responsible for similar crimes. "Definitely, she has a criminal past," said Miami Police Officer Kenia Reyes, "but we don't know what or who she could have approached in the past."

Lopez and her daughter said they will no longer be so trusting and hope Mendoza does not get the chance to commit another crime. "She should pay for her crime, especially if she's victimizing other elderly people in the neighborhood," said Lopez's daughter.

If you know anything about this woman or anyone that has been victimized by her, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.

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