Reaching Out and Ministering to those in Need

Pastor John BartzNews

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MARTIN COUNTY (CBS12) — A Treasure Coast community is reaching out to help an elderly couple scammed out of their live savings to support their daughter’s drug habit.

Martin County deputies say the victims came forward after they were kidnapped by drug dealers and their lives were threatened.

Investigators say 28 year old Lanelle Angelucci convinced her 74 year old father last February that Chase bank was sending her reimbursement in the form of a check for a $40,000 fraudulent charge on her account.

Deputies say he began giving her up to 600 dollars a day for what she claimed was for UPS delivery and other fees.

They say cash also went to Nicholas Reeds, Angelucci’s drug dealer, who claimed to be a UPS courier.

Detectives say Angelucci admitted to spending $30 to $40 thousand “over the last 9 to 10 months to feed her drug addiction”.

When the couple ran out of money last month, deputies say Reeds, Erick Fredericks and Kenneth Ellershaw kidnapped them at gunpoint and threatened to kill them.

Detective Yesenia Carde says in the year the scheme lasted, investigators believe the couple lost nearly $200 thousand.

“The gentleman is a Navy Veteran. They’re pretty much destitute at this point. They have no funds. They’ve been cleaned out,” said Carde.

Pastor John Bartz’s Palm City church New Beginnings was one of several local congregations contacted by the Martin County Sheriff’s Office to help.

“It’s very heartbreaking to see families, especially older couples, that have been taken advantage of,” said Bartz.

They donated more than 300 dollars toward utility expenses to make sure the couple could stay in their home.

“This family has had everything taken from them because of an addiction issue but that doesn’t stop us from helping,” Bartz said, “That’s our obligation as who we are as a church. It’s to reach out and minister to those needs.”

I’m told as of now the family is able to stay in their home and is getting help for groceries and other necessities as well.

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Generosity is our privilege because Jesus was first generous towards us.