(KMOV.com) -- Ellisville police are investigating after an 86-year-old woman said a man posing as a package delivery employee tied her up and stole valuables from her home.
Officers were called to the 1300 block of Kensington Way on Saturday around 3:52 p.m.
Bernice Cook told News 4 she answered the door when a man posing as a UPS delivery person said he had a package. Cook said the man, who was holding a cardboard box and what appeared to be a clipboard used to sign off on packages, then pushed his way into her home.
Authorities said he then told her he wanted her money and jewelry and bound her wrists and fingers with a roll of tape he brought with him.
According to Cook, the suspect said his name was Robert and needed money to get back to California. He added he had a 10-year-old son who suffered from cancer.
Police said the suspect then taped Cook to the kitchen stove.
“He tied me to the handle of the stove with tape, and after he left I chewed myself out I kept chewing and chewing on the tape ‘til I could get loose...then I called police right away,” said Cook.
While he allegedly filled a box with money, jewelry and whatever else he could find, Cook said she had a bold conversation with the suspect.
“I said you know, your mother wouldn’t really want you to do this,” said Cook. “He kept saying he had a son who was sick. I said if this will help your son with money, I hope your little boy gets better.”
Cook said before the suspect left, he kissed her on her cheek and told her he would call the police so they could respond and untie her. The suspect then left through the front door.
Police said an extensive neighborhood canvas was conducted both Saturday and Sunday
Authorities said the suspect was described as a black man in his 30s with medium skin tone. He’s about 6-feet-2 with a medium build and had a mustache.
Police said he was wearing a two-tone brown jacket with a UPS emblem and safety pins holding the jacket closed, blue jeans, and a dark red St. Louis Cardinals ball cap with a yellow sticker on the underside of the bill.
He had curled-type of hair coming out from the back of the hat, sunglasses and tan work boots that appeared to be new.
For her part, Cook says she feels like there's very little she could have done to protect herself in this situation.
"You trust people," she said. "It was two in the afternoon and I never gave it a thought he said it so quickly."
Thomas Williams, president of the homeowner's association, said the neighborhood's demographic makeup could attract criminals.
"You have a lot of single elderly ladies that are here," he said. "I mean Bernice- she is somewhere in her 80s. That makes it easier for them."
A UPS spokesperson said they do not believe the suspect is an employee of the company. She said residents can look for a specific set of criteria if they ever doubt whether a delivery person is legitimate.
"The UPS driver is going to be fully clothed in shirt, pants or shorts," said Susan Rosenberg. "A matching uniform with a UPS brand logo on the shirt. You will see the familiar brown delivery truck."
However, residents are urged to always be cautious if they had doubts. Cook said nothing felt out of the ordinary until it was too late.
"I get packages from my in-laws in Arizona I didn’t think much of it; UPS is on the street all the time," she said. "I mean, I opened the door. It was my fault... you trust people."
Anyone with information on the suspect is asked to call their local police department.