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West Allis pastor says visitor swindles the elderly

Posted at 6:07 PM, Sep 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-17 19:07:47-04

WEST ALLIS -- A West Allis pastor is warning the community of a woman who is allegedly defrauding the elderly in their place of worship.

Apostle Presbyterian Church pastor Cathy Manthei says it doesn't stop at her church. 

Apostle Presbyterian's sanctuary is open to anyone who wants to worship, however there is one visitor pastor Manthei believes comes for the wrong reasons. 

"She is welcome, her behavior is not," Manthei said.  

Manthei said a woman who is captured in a photo during a church luncheon visits about twice a year. 

"She signed in here on Sept. 9, only using the first name Suzette," Manthei said. "However, I've learned she used Deborah at a different church." 

While her name may be a mystery, Manthei is on to her motive. 

"She took a man for what I think was $120," Manthei said. 

Manthei said each time she visits, a different elderly member falls victim. 

"Last week, she told a couple that I had told her and she pretended to dial me on the phone that I had told her that they should give her money and that I would replace the money," Manthei said. 

The woman claims they will be repaid without following through. 

"Those people did not have that to give," said Manthei.  

Terry Sweek fell for it this summer at his church near Greenfield. 

"I think she knew exactly how to make people feel comfortable and then approach them for money," Sweek said.  

The problem is, with just photo for evidence and a name that may be made up, police could have a hard time tracking her down. 

"I want pressure to be brought on her so she doesn't scam people this way," Manthei said.  

Manthei called police but doesn't want the woman to be criminally charged. Rather, just to get her help in a way that doesn't hurt others.