A Hanover-area couple lied to an Adams County church pastor and two others about the wife needing surgery so they could scam people out of cash, according to charging documents filed by state police.
Bob Edward Bentzel, 28, and Jessica Louise Bentzel, 23, both of 290 Clouser Road in Union Township, Adams County, are charged with multiple counts of theft by deception.
The Bentzels went to Pastor Gary R. Bowers of First Baptist Church of Littlestown on June 22, asking for help to pay for Jessica Bentzel's cancer surgery, charging documents state.
Bowers gave the couple $75 with the understanding they would pay it back, according to documents.
Second loan: They went back to the pastor the next day and asked for more money for another surgical procedure, police said. He gave them $105 and they agreed to pay back that money as well, documents state.
Bowers eventually contacted Bob Bentzel's mother after he was unable to reach either Bob or Jessica Bentzel, according to police.
That's when the pastor learned Jessica Bentzel didn't have cancer and hadn't undergone surgeries, charging documents state.
Bowers also learned the couple had made up stories in the past to get money, documents allege. He then called state police.
Pregnancy claim: State police in Gettysburg also allege the couple scammed Anna Louise Cain of Union Township, Adams County, out of $80 in May by telling her that Jessica Bentzel was pregnant and needed surgery for an infection, charging documents state.
Jessica Bentzel left her wedding ring with Cain as collateral on the loan, documents state.
Cain told police the Bentzels never called her about paying back the money, but that Jessica Bentzel contacted her on July 7 to ask for more money, according to police. Cain refused.
And on Feb. 2, the couple convinced 66-year-old James W. Dell of Germany Township, Adams County, to give them $480 by telling him they needed money to pay for Jessica Bentzel's "surgeries," according to state police.
Dell told troopers the couple never paid him back, police said.
Confessions alleged: Charging documents allege Bob and Jessica Bentzel confessed to Trooper Christopher Ashey that they made up the stories about medical issues so they could obtain money.
Ashey could not be reached for comment. It's unclear why the couple allegedly needed money.
Jessica Bentzel declined comment on Wednesday.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org.