A Cat Burglar will not always hit at night and will not always look like a crook.
Reports of a Burglary Scam have been coming into police agencies all the way from the east coast to the west coast of the United States. These scam artists could come to your area soon.
The scam is targeting older people and vary some depending on the circumstances. The scammers desired result is to get into the victim’s home undetected and steal items easy to see and take.
On one local case; two men (our suspects) exited a work truck and walked up to an older male ( our victim) working in his yard. They told the man they worked for the city and there was a problem with water pipes in the area. They said that they needed to check the pipes in his back yard and see if they could locate the problem.
All three walked into the backyard and at some point were joined by the victim’s wife.
While discussing the (Fake) pipe problem, our Cat Burglar (one of the suspects) entered the house of the victim. While there, the crook took valuables from around the house.
There are different versions of this going around and could be a criminal gang scam.
So far up to four suspects drive around in a work truck until they see someone they choose as their victim. The victim could be working in their yard, or in their home. The suspects will contact the victim and pose as city, or utility company workers. They tell the victim that there is a cable, water pipe, or sewer problem and that they need to see connections in your home or back yard. (From here on we will call the victim “you”. While talking to you, other members of the group will search your home for items to steal.
Some of these scammers flash badges and show paperwork. They will be very good at talking their talk and maneuvering their way into your home..
Here are some anti theft tips to help with any type of scam artist that may come to your door:
Don’t let any stranger into your home for any reason without a prior appointment. Always keep your door locked and talk to strangers through the door without opening it. (Remember chains will not keep a suspect from kicking in a door).
Tell them you are going to confirm with the city, or company they claim to be from, and keep the door locked. Use your phone book; do not call a number supplied by the stranger. If it is the real thing they won’t have a problem with this. If they leave call the police (911) and report it. The police dispatcher will get the patrol units on their way and will ask some questions that will help officers as they respond.
If you have contacted a company to come out to your home, confirm with the company who will be coming out to meet with you. Ask what they will be wearing, what their work vehicle looks like and their name. Some companies will even send you an email with a photo of the person that will contact you. Some other companies post a picture of their employees on their website.
If you are talked into going outside, lock your door behind you. Even if the contact is legitimate, others watching for an opportunity to go into your home while your are distracted will take it.
Buy diversion safes so you can hide valuables in plain sight. Diversion safes, also referred to as concealment devices are anti theft products made of, or made to look like common household items for the purpose of concealing valuables. We have have a number of these here on our website.
If the suspects force their way into your home to take money or property, co-operate by not fighting with them. Study what the suspects look like, weapons, clothing, etc. Don’t offer information they don’t ask for and as soon as they leave call 911. While waiting for the police, write down as much information as you can about how the suspect(s) looked, clothing, hair, hats, and the make and model of their vehicle.
When officers arrive, answer their questions and show them where the suspects touched things, spit, cut themselves, or discarded property they brought with them.
Remember to be safe out there.