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Police: Pair stole $7G from would-be renters

Maria Rennick, 30, of Port Jefferson Station, was

Maria Rennick, 30, of Port Jefferson Station, was arrested at her home Thursday, May 15, 2014, and charged with first-degree scheme to defraud and criminal impersonation in connection with a scam on would-be renters, police said. Credit: SCPD

Police say two Port Jefferson Station women collected about $7,000 in cash deposits from people who placed ads seeking rentals -- pocketing the money, but never renting the room.

Suffolk County police arrested Maria Rennick, 30, at her home Thursday night. She was charged with scheme to defraud in the first degree and criminal impersonation.

Lisa Liebetruth, 45, who lives at the same address as Rennick, was arrested April 29 and charged with scheme to defraud in the first degree, police said. She has been released on her own recognizance.

Police said Liebetruth and Rennick would "actively solicit people" who placed ads on Craigslist looking for rentals, then take cash deposits from the victims.

The women are accused of defrauding at least three people over three months, promising them the same room, said Bob Clifford, spokesman for the Suffolk County district attorney's office.

The pair strung-along the victims with excuses about why the room was not yet available and with demands for more money to change locks, Clifford said. In at least one case, they threatened to give the room to someone else if the prospective renter did not give them additional cash for the security deposit, he said.

Rennick was arraigned Friday in First District Court in Central Islip and held on $1,000 cash bail or $3,000 bond.

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