Scam & Fraud - Imposter Burglary

  • Suspect(s) will pretend to be legitimate worker(s) and approach senior citizen home owners at their residences with a seemingly legitimate ruse. Their real purpose is to divert the homeowner while their accomplices search for currency and jewelry.
  • Some of the more frequently used ploys by the suspects are: indicating they are from the local gas/electric company; posing as a water department employee to inspect the water pipes and/or to replace the water meter; a request to use the bathroom; a cable TV company employee; roofing/gutter repair and paving company contractor; city inspector(s), surveyor(s), and tree trimmer(s); or government personnel from a social service agency.
  • Many of the impostor burglars now have bogus photo identification cards, legitimate looking work uniforms, and vehicles made to look like government or company vehicles. They may also communicate with hand-held radios or cell phones.
  • Women and children may also accompany male suspects and participate in the diversion of the homeowner.
  • The suspects may offer a partial rebate by giving the victim a $100 bill and a request for change. This allows the suspect(s) to determine where the victim keeps their money. The victim is distracted either inside the house by turning a light switch on and off, knocking on water pipes, etc.; or showing the victim damage outside of the home, determining property lines, etc. Once the victim is distracted, the unseen suspects enter the home and remove the money and jewelry. In some cases, the suspects have also removed safes from the home.

Violence

While many of these offenses are only distraction theft/burglaries, an increasing pattern of violence is emerging. Most of the violence occurs when the victim becomes aware of the distraction and tries to prevent the criminals from taking his/her valuables. In these cases, the victim is overpowered with force by the suspects; the offense then turns into an assault and robbery. In the last few years, an increasing number of offenders have begun using violence in lieu of distraction as their method of operation.