Kosciusko County police flew to Tennessee on Wednesday to arrest a man accused of scamming a 79-year-old Mentone woman out of at least $15,000 over the past year.
Brian Eric Schendel, 37, of Oak Ridge, Tenn., allegedly tricked the woman into sending him $15,000 to $20,000 in cash and money orders by pretending he was a wounded veteran, police said.
Schendel faces a felony charge of exploiting an endangered adult over 60 years old. He was being held Thursday at the Kosciusko County Jail on $5,000 bond.
Schendel sold the woman a car in August 2011 and stayed in contact with her, Kosciusko County Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Chad Hill said in a statement. He then allegedly coerced her into sending money to Mississippi and Tennessee “by playing on the victim's kindness,” Hill said.
Detectives recently tracked Schendel, who used an alias, to Oak Ridge, Hill said.