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Police Alert: Rise in Distraction Burglaries

The ruse called "distraction burglary"involves someone who gets a resident's attention while another person sneaks into the home and robs the place. Police say there has been an increase in this kind of crime.

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.

For full details, view this message on the web.

Gerald Elekes April 04, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Informative article, enjoyed it. For a similar viewpoint, look at the current "Door-to-Door Solicitors" article/blog on the Toluca-North Hollywood Patch. Once again, good advice.
Kevin Raposo April 04, 2012 at 08:10 PM
This is really good stuff, I was unaware of this burglary method. It's a little bold, but so is burglarizing a empty home. I recently wrote an article that might be helpful to readers on how to better protect themselves from a traditional burglar: Burglar Reveals 15 Trade Secrets - A Look into the Mind of a Burglar http://simplisafe.com/blog/burglar-reveals-15-trade-secrets-look-mind-burglar Feel free to share or re-post!
Momlee April 04, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Except for the Patch we are never allerted by the local news networks regarding this information. Thank you for giving us updates and we should tell our neighbors because crime is definately affecting our wonderful neighborhoods. Again, don't open your doors unless you know who is there. I will worn anyone who walks with their children to be carefull and not try to sell cookies or fund raising for the schools. Those days are long gone. Use the phone instead.
Scott Killeen April 11, 2012 at 02:29 PM
FYI- get on the mailing list! LAPD - Van Nuys <lapd---van-nuys@emails.nixle.com> If you haven't done so..... "LIKE" us on Facebook facebook.com/LAPDVanNuysDivision "FOLLOW" us on Twitter twitter.com/lapdVanNuysDiv "FOLLOW" us on Nixle local.nixle.com/lapd---van-nuys "FOLLOW" us on Patch shermanoaks.patch.com/listings/lapd-van-nuys-station "VISIT" us online www.lapdvannuys.com/

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