Deception Burglaries Capt. Martin Lurz – BCOPD Precinct 7
These incidents seem to increase with the arrival of warmer weather, although they can occur any time of the year. MOST IMPORTANTLY – SHARE this information with your neighbors
Deception burglaries have one common theme – to get homeowners distracted by getting them to walk into another room or, more frequently, asking the homeowner to step outside and then getting them to move to the side or rear of the house (out of view) while a second suspect enters the house through the unlocked door and steals whatever is quickly accessible.
Here is how it works:
The first suspect will come to the door and use some type of ruse to win the confidence of the homeowner. For example, the suspect may tell the homeowner he works for a fence company (TV, or landscaping company — you name it, they’ve tried them all) and tell the homeowner to step outside with him so he can examine the property line in the rear of the property. If the owner does step outside, they will generally leave the door unlocked and the first suspect will escort the owner around the back out of view of the door. The first suspect may use a cell phone to “call his boss” when, in fact, he is ACTUALLY CALLING THE SECOND SUSPECT to let him know that entry into the home can now be made. After about ten minutes, the first suspect and the homeowner will walk back into the house AFTER the second suspect has slipped out. These burglars generally take small items, a purse or wallet, or jewelry that are easy to grab and
There are generally two common themes to all these type burglaries:
A ruse or “scam” is used to gain trust and confidence.
The elderly are more likely to be a victim of these burglaries
There are many variations to the “scam” burglar, here are several examples. Two suspects come to the door and ask the homeowner to accept a package for their neighbor. If they are allowed in the house, one will say she is thirsty and ask for water. As the homeowner walks the one to the kitchen and engages in conversation, the second one slips off and steals small
In the Power Company employee scam, the suspect says they are an employee and needs to get to the basement to investigate a “problem in the lines”. When the homeowner walks that person to the basement, the second suspect enters and steals the valuables.
DO NOT let anyone that you do not know and trust into your house. Employees of BGE carry ID photos. CALL the company for verification. IF THE “EMPLOYEE” PROVIDES YOU WITH THE NUMBER FOR VERIFICATION, DON’T CALL THAT NUMBER! CALL THE NUMBER LISTED IN THE PHONE BOOK. The reason is that if the person at the door is trying to scam you, the number they supply is probably the cell phone number of the second suspect who will tell you “Yes it’s perfectly OK to let that person into your house.”
If you are really suspicious, tell the person you are calling 911. A legitimate employee will wait for the police, the deception burglars won’t.
Stay alert and get the word out, especially to elderly neighbors, family members and friends. Awareness is key.
Tell them to call 911 immediately to report suspicious activity. Memorize the suspect’s appearance (scars, marks, anything unusual). If a vehicle description and/or license plate number can safely be obtained write it down immediately and provide it to the 911 operator.
Be alert, be aware, be curious and call 911.