Berlin's State Criminal Police office, who has taken over the investigation. Photo: DPA
A 103-year-old woman in Berlin fought off two thieves with her walking stick on Thursday afternoon.
Two strangers rang the doorbell to the pensioners apartment in Berlin's Gesundbrunnen neighbourhood on Thursday at around 4 p.m, according to Berlin police.
When the elderly woman opened the door, two women forced their way into her apartment. The intruders then ushered the pensioner into the kitchen under the pretense of getting her to sign a document, leaving the front door open for an accomplice to enter.
But the 103-year-old Berliner, whom police described as 'sprightly,' wasn't so easily fooled.
She refused to sign the document, and then, when one of the strangers got too close, the senior citizen defended herself with her walking stick, driving the duo out of her apartment empty-handed.
The women fled along with an unknown male accomplice who had been waiting in the stairwell. The older woman was unhurt.
This is a common trick used by fraudsters to try to distract their victims, often older people, a police spokeswoman told The Local. Sometimes thieves pretend to be getting a signature for a parcel.
They may focus people on something else so that the accomplice can scurry into the apartment to collect valuables, the spokeswoman explained.
Police warned residents they are not obliged to let any strangers into their apartment, and that they should ask anyone claiming to be an official for a badge.
Police also said not to leave large sums of money or valuables lying around ones apartment.