The Los Angeles Police Department is alerting people that there has been a rise in distraction burglaries. "Learn how to protect yourself," says the LAPD.
The suspects involved in these types of crimes are very organized and well spoken. They use a variety of ruses in order to “distract” their victims.
For example, they will pose as tree trimmers, employees from utility companies, city workers, people in distress (pregnant female needing assistance with a flat tire) etc. What usually happens is one suspect distracts the homeowner by taking them outside the residence to show them the “problem” (i.e. tree that needs trimming or curb that needs painting).
While the homeowner is distracted, the second suspect, usually never seen by anybody, enters the unlocked residence and steals jewelry and cash.
In the cases where the suspects target an open house, they will enter as a family; husband, wife and children. Someone from the family will distract the agent while the other steals jewelry and cash.
If you are confronted by someone claiming to be a city worker, tree trimmer or any professional person, ask for identification and a business card. Check to see if they have arrived in a company vehicle (i.e. company logo on the side of the vehicle). Never leave them unattended in your home.
If you accompany them outside for whatever purpose, lock your residence. In cases involving open houses, do not allow the suspects to separate or otherwise divide your attention. If they bring children demand that the children stay with the parents, as these groups will instruct the children to steal. If you encounter anybody you do not believe to be a legitimate professional person offering services, notify the police. Do not be afraid to ask questions and demand answers. These suspects depend on you being trusting, kind and not wanting to offend. Remember this is your property and you need to protect yourself.
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