Bogus Caller Impostor
and Deception Theft or Distraction Burglary by Traveling Criminals
Distraction Burglary is often called "bogus
callers", "burglary artifice", "deception
theft", "imposter burglaries" or "imposter
type residential burglary" depending on the country in which
it occurs. It is a crime primarily targeted at vulnerable
older people living alone, although mothers at home with young
children have also been targeted.
Doorstep fraudsters pose as officials
(including council, police, utility workers, door-to-door salesmen,
contractors, real estate agents, volunteer service groups, medical
examiners), to gain the targeted victims confidence, enabling
them to gain entry into the residence during daytime hours.
Once inside, one keeps the victim busy or distracted while the
other steals valuables from another part of the residence.
Some groups consist of family members and on occasion even their
own small children are used to frequent residential areas to both
locate the elderly and as a means of gaining the confidence of
intended victims while accompanying the adults.
One individual in Florida posed as a sub-contractor hired by
the town house association to inspect doorframes. He gained
the confidence of elderly victims by posing as a contractor and
having a child with him at the time he gained entry into the residences.
In one instance he stole a ring valued at approximately $10,000
and made good his escape. In another, where over $40,000
in jewelry was stolen, he used a two-way radio to converse with
another unidentified subject who was on the scene.
In 1998 there were 16,000 known offences in the U.K. but recent
research shows that it is likely to be 4 or 5 times higher
for three main reasons:
goes unreported due to shame of admitting that they trusted someone enough to let them inside in the first place;
often don't realize for some time that they have actually
been burgled as it can take hours, days or even weeks
to realize that something is actually missing; and
are differences in how the crime is recorded and reported
The average age of victims is 81
years of age and 60% are female, with the majority living alone.
The crime can have a devastating effect upon its victims. A
number have suffered heart attacks, strokes and worsened mental
instability after the burglary has taken place.
Rural elderly are the most sought after victims because they
may live alone, are easily intimidated, make poor witnesses due
to failing eyesight and memory capability, keep large sums of cash
either on their person or in their homes and cannot physically
make necessary home repairs or improvements.
These groups of roving scammers or "Travelers" have developed
many various scams over many generations and for each fraud and theft
there may be different variations in structure and implementation.
For example, victims may be approached by a person posing as
a termite or electrical wiring inspector offering a "free" inspection.
Once inside the victim's home, money and jewelry will be stolen.
The "inspector" may be accompanied by a companion and
while the victim is distracted, the companion will steal the valuables.
Burglar Posing as a Tree Service Contractor
It was recently reported by police in Connecticut that a local
residence was burglarized while the homeowner was falling victim
to a scam wherein a man knocked on the door and identified himself
as a tree service employee.
He told the resident that his company was contracted to remove
and trim some trees along the homeowners property line and requested
that he step outside and show him where the property line was so
they wouldn't cut down the wrong trees.
After leading the man to the edge of the property in the rear,
the con man told the resident he wanted to get a tape measure from
his truck and that he'd be right back. After several minutes, when
the con man did not return, the homeowner returned to the house
and found it had been quickly burglarized using a simple ploy to
get the resident out of the house and out of sight of the unlocked
Burglars Posing as Rug Salesmen
They are also engaged in rug sales which misrepresent the quality
of goods. A variety of this scam requires that four Travelers be
used. A distracter, who diverts the victims attention, two carriers
(two Travelers hold up an open rug by the comers) and a fourth
crouched behind the rug, whose presence is unknown to the victim.
The rug is carried open into the house; the distracter keeps
the victim busy while the fourth Traveler (shielded by the rug)
is able to survey rooms for money or other small valuables. If
the victim decides to purchase the rug, the distracter tells the
victim that the rug is a demonstrator model, but they have another
just like it in the car. In this way, the Travelers are able to
smuggle the fourth man out of the house, unseen by the victim.
Burglars Posing as Medical Examiners
Other very profitable techniques are the Social Security and
health scams. Though there are variations of these scams, one type
involves two well-dressed Travelers posing as doctors working with
the Social Security agency. They offer to give free physicals with
the understanding that if the victim passes the examination, their
Social Security benefits will be increased. While the doctor is
conducting the phony exam, the assistant is going through the house
stealing what he can.
In the other type of health scam, the Travelers pose as health
department workers offering a free EKG (heart exam) for the elderly.
At that point a phony heart machine with attachments is placed
on the victim and the victim is told to lie still. During the so-called
EKG, one Traveler stays with the victim while the other attempts
to steal money and other valuables.
Burglars Posing as a Charitable Service Group
In one scam, they approach a homeowner and tell them that they
are volunteers workers for "Senior Services of America",
or some other senior services group which is offering free house
cleaning services. They befriend the homeowner and enter the house,
explaining all the services that they have to offer. While one
suspect talks to the homeowner, the other suspect walks through
the house, stealing money, checks, jewelry, and anything else that
they can conceal.
Violence Generally Avoided by Distraction Burglars
Offenders are highly organized, committing this nasty crime through
their choice of victim: vulnerable older residents. Violence is, however,
rarely used and offenders are discouraged if challenged either
by relatives, home helps or neighbours. Organizations that
send people for home visits have an enormous role to play in combating
Attempting to call police, if the crime is discovered onsite,
has resulted in victims being subdued, and on occasion injured.
One group of four traveling criminals were observed and reported
trying to sell Avon products in a residential neighborhood without
having any equipment or product to do so. They were stopped
and investigated as possible burglars and individually could not
come up with the same answers as to why they were in a residential
A search of their vehicle produced burglary tools described as
a police baton and two carry bags which contained other empty plastic
bags, pillowcases and tablecloths which are often used in burglaries.
Rug Burns Sting
One traveling con with prior arrests which include Burglary, Theft,
Resisting An Officer, Possession Of Burglary Tools, Burglary To
A Dwelling, Possession Of Forged Instruments and Forgery, phoned
an elderly male that he had sold a rug to in the past and then
went to his residence.
The con distracted him long enough to steal his jewelry worth
$14,000 from the residence but an observant neighbor had prompted
a police visit prior to his departure.
Caught showing the police false ID, it was discovered that this
scammer has used at least seven different names in the past during
confrontations with law enforcement, as well as different dates
of birth and addresses. He even claims to have been born in at
least three different countries.
He also claims to be a traveling salesman, though his rug sales
follow-up indicates that he targets elderly persons and keeps track
of them in order to re-contact them at a later date for other scams.
On the Road Again
One vulnerable victim was hit with a double whammy in December
of 2000. A female traveling con along with a black male companion
committed the "Pigeon Drop Scam" on her as she walked
to her vehicle in a parking lot. She was conned into withdrawing
money as good faith to place as collateral against a larger amount
of money found by the scammer.
They took her money in exchange for the found money, which was
in a locked metal suitcase type container. The victim went home
with the found money and awaited further instructions. She eventually
notified authorities when the perpetrator never re-contacted her.
Later in the same month, the female perpetrator actually came
to the victim's residence with another unknown black male and produced
identification as agents for "The Prevention Of Scamming Senior
The victim was again conned into placing all her valuables onto
a table for identification purposes. They then asked her to furnish
them with a recent phone bill, and, when the victim went to get
it, the perpetrators left the residence. Discovered stolen was
a couple of diamond rings and the victim's checkbook.
Scamming Season is Here
05/08/03 By RAGHURAM VADAREVU STAFF WRITER - North Jersey.com
She didn't trust banks, so the 83-year-old Carlstadt woman kept
$63,000 in cash in a bedroom safe. Two weeks ago, she lost it all.
While a stranger posing as a window repairman distracted her,
two accomplices entered the woman's house through another door
and stole her life savings. "It's really horrendous," said
the elderly victim, sitting in her darkened living room just hours
after the theft.
With spring here, authorities expect to hear more stories like
hers, as scammers, flimflammers, and con artists return to North
Jersey to prey on the gullible or defenseless. Already, manipulative
crooks have struck in Saddle Brook, Wallington, Fort Lee, and Clifton,
posing in each instance as water repairmen and targeting the elderly. In
Paramus, men speaking in foreign accents passed off cheap imitation
suits as Armanis, collecting thousands of dollars from unsuspecting
Each year, scammers swipe tens of billions of dollars from victims
nationwide, said Les Henderson, author of the book "Crimes
of Persuasion." "No one will escape being scammed
at least once in their lifetime," said Henderson, who operates
a Web site that aims to combat con artists. "But no one will
ever admit that possibility."
Common cons involve "impostor burglars" who pose as
utility workers, tree trimmers, rug salesmen, or driveway contractors. Once
inside the house, they distract residents, steering them away from
the door to a secluded place. Impostor tree trimmers, for instance,
will try to draw out the resident under the guise that they will
point out the proposed work. In each instance, accomplices ransack
the house. Other scams become more prevalent as warmer weather
draws more people outdoors.
Some flimflammers pose as contractors, approaching homeowners
with offers of discount repairs. One of the more common scams involves
resurfacing a driveway: The work amounts to little more than spraying
the area with black oil. When rain washes it away days later, the "contractor" is
long gone - along with the duped homeowner's money.
Not all scams occur at home, however. Police say con men and
women also find their victims on the street, at the malls, and
in parking lots. When they do, experts say, a major part of their
success is their ability to take advantage of human nature.
A few months ago, a swindler who spoke with an Italian accent
played on a Bergen County man's better nature to pull off a con.
The stranger stopped the 40-year-old victim - call him John - in
a Paramus mall parking lot and asked for directions to Newark Liberty
International Airport. John, who is Italian, actually suspected
a scam at first. But then he thought: "How could I get hurt
by telling him how to get to the airport?"
But it didn't stop there. Before long, the men were chatting
about their families and common ethnic heritage. After nearly 40
minutes, John thought nothing of shelling out $1,000 for nine leather
jackets from the back of the stranger's car. And although the salesman
said they were Armanis, all were fake.
"I fell for it - hook, line, and sinker," recalled
John, who did not want his real name used. "I teach my children
not to do exactly what I did do. I feel like the world's biggest
dope." In hindsight, he can see several moments when he could
have recognized the con. For one thing, the non-native stranger
spoke flawless English.
John's advice? "Trust your instincts." Some people
do. This year, three women approached a man on an Englewood street
and tried to persuade him to give them cash for what they said
was a winning lottery ticket. He wouldn't be hoodwinked. He told
them to wait in a nearby parking lot while he got the money from
Instead, he summoned police and the would-be scammers were arrested.
In many instances, victims detect the scam. Still, they somehow
fall for it anyway. Chalk it up, in part, to the scammers' ability
to manipulate others, the victims' inability to say "no" to
authority figures, and a somewhat natural attraction to getting
something cheap - or free.
"The person who is scamming is good at bending people to
their will," said John Suler, a psychology professor at Rider
University. "They are very good at reading people. They detect
people's needs, people's fears, and people's desires."
Sometimes a scammer will begin a conversation with a small request,
such as asking for directions, Suler said, and advance to larger
and larger requests, until the victim is soon parted from his or
her money. Other times, he said, impostor burglars use the authority
of uniforms they wear to dupe their mostly elderly victims, who
tend to be socially isolated and reluctant to challenge them. What's
more, the older the victim, the less likely that he or she will
be able to identify the thief.
They also may be afraid of speaking up for fear that their family
will place them in an assisted-living facility, experts say. "They
mostly target seniors because the senior can't ID them and doesn't
know what's missing sometimes," said Steven "Two Bones" Mitchell,
a self-proclaimed "king of the Gypsies."
For decades, Mitchell served as a liaison between authorities
and members of New Jersey's Gypsy community, arranging surrenders
and restitution by those who ran afoul of the law. "Gypsy" is
commonly used to describe those with an itinerant lifestyle, but
it also is associated - often derogatorily - with a group of traveling
artisans, musicians, and tinkerers, some of whom Mitchell said
consider scamming "a way of life."
The scammers he has known selected their elderly victims by riding
around neighborhoods, spotting them when they go out shopping at
supermarkets or catching them doing yard work, Mitchell said. They
also seek clues from the house: Old-styled curtains, for instance,
are a giveaway that the homeowner is elderly, he said.
"I don't condone this," Mitchell said. "I had
a mother and father, too. I've been to the courtroom and seen these
old ladies they robbed."
Victims lose more than money. They may no longer trust themselves
or the people around them, and they suffer a host of emotions - "from
[feeling] just stupid to suicidal," said Henderson. In the
hours after she lost her life savings, the Carlstadt woman sat
in a chair near her front window, next to a small table that held
her blood-pressure monitoring machine. She wanted to be close to
A few years ago, a friend of hers had been swindled out of $4,000
by men posing as water meter repairmen, the woman said. Still,
when the man was inside her house last month, the Carlstadt victim
said, she never thought he might be trying to steal from her. "I
was afraid of him a little bit," she admitted. "That's
why I was trying to push him out the door."
"I don't understand it," she said, shaking her head
between sips of bottled water. "I never trust people, and
I don't let people in ... "I hope I get some of it back," she
Roof Repair Distraction Burglars
03/04 - NJ - Police in Easton and Palmer Township are warning
residents to be watchful of a man and woman who claim to be roof
repair experts but are really thieves.
The man and woman scam team was first spotted by an elderly woman
who told police the duo stole several thousand dollars in jewelry
from her home.
Police said the man knocked on the victim's door and said he was
there to inspect her roof. The victim, whose roof is inspected
annually, let the man and woman in her home and stayed in a bedroom
with the woman while the man was supposedly checking the roof.
When the couple left, the victim realized the man did not inspect
her roof but took her jewelry, police said.
About an hour later, the couple knocked on the door of an elderly
woman in Easton, and the man asked to inspect the roof.
The homeowner refused to let the couple in her home, but the man
later convinced the homeowner to meet him in her back yard.
While in the back yard, the woman asked the homeowner for hot
water, police said. When the scam artists realized the home was
equipped with an alarm, they suddenly left, police said.
Police warn elderly of Bogus Caller robbery
BY KEIKO MORRIS - STAFF WRITER -newsday.com
04/08/04 - (NY) Citing three incidents in the past month, Nassau
police are cautioning the elderly to be aware of con artists posing
as utility workers to gain entry into their homes and then rob
Three elderly women have reported being the target of scams in which
two men pose as workers for the water company. The men insist that they
need to check the pipes or water pressure because of a problem in the
area, said Det. Lt. Kevin Smith, a police department spokesman. While
one of the suspects distracts the victim, the other raids the victim's
bedroom and takes cash and other valuables, Smith said.
On March 18, two men used the ruse to steal an undisclosed amount of
cash and jewelry from an Elmont woman.
On March 31, two men wearing green clothing knocked on the door of a
79-year-old Albertson woman about 3 p.m., Smith said. They pointed out
some water beneath the sink, told her she had a leak and then had her
tap the faucet with a spoon - a ploy to distract her. Smith said that
while one pretended to check the pipes the other went into her bedroom
and took cash and other items.
The most recent incident took place Tuesday in North Massapequa at 2:45
p.m., when two men again claiming to be water repairmen targeted a 91-year-old
Smith said the women could only provide vague descriptions of the men
and it's unclear whether the three burglaries were committed by the same
two men. The similarities, he said, are in the way the women are approached.
Miscarriage of Justice - "My Water Broke and I Need Some
04/30/04 - Arkansas - A warrant was issued Thursday for the woman
police believe stole from an elderly woman’s home last week.
Authorities said Tina Marie Reynolds, 37, of Fort Smith conned
her way into a woman’s residence in the 1700 block of South
U Street on April 22 under the guise of having a miscarriage.
The suspect asked to use the bathroom and then stole money and
credit cards from the woman who was gathering clothing items to
About an hour later, police believe Reynolds tried to get into
a residence in the 1200 block of Bluff Avenue by asking a man for
water. The man told her to wait outside while he got her a glass.
She left before he returned, police said earlier.
Beat Her with the Meter
BILLERICA, MASS - Two men scammed an elderly woman out of
about $5,000 when they talked their way into her home last week,
according to police.
"These people are heartless," Police Inspector Bill
Two men approached the woman claiming to be employees of the town's
Park Department who had to put an electrical meter on the back
of her home on April 28, West said.
One of the men said the work cost $50, so he handed her a
$100 bill and asked for change.
When the 92-year-old woman went into her living room to get the
money, the men commonly referred to by police as gypsies because
they go from town to town scamming people knew where to look, West
One of the men led her to the back of the house while the other
one stole her money, according to West.
JACK MINCH - lowellsun.com 05/05/04
Scammer Flush With Stolen Goods
Pittsburgh - 05/18/04 - Police are warning residents to be careful
who they welcome in their home after a recent con hit. A man posing
as a water company worker told the victim he had a $35 rebate to
offer on his water bill. The resident allowed the fake worker inside
and was told to flush the toilet. Meanwhile, the scammer took cash
and valuables and ran off.
Headache Leads to Heartache
Missouri - 05/22/04 - A white male and female driving a gray or
green pickup truck are attempting to defraud elderly people in
Raytown. The suspects contact the resident, normally an elderly
male or female, and tell them they are due a rebate on a roof that
was installed in the last few years. The suspects then ask for
a deductible to be collected up front and ask to be invited into
Once inside the home, the suspects distract the resident by asking
for pain medication for a bad back or headache. While the resident
searches for the medication, the suspects take wallets, purses
and valuables from the home.
Brush Cut Leaves Victim Trimmed
06/05/04 - PA - Police said scam artists are at it again in Lackawanna
County. Authorities said two men stole $2,000 from an 85 year old
woman near Mount Cobb Thursday.
One man got the woman out of the house by claiming he was there
to trim some brush. When she went back into the house the cash
was gone. Police suspect this case is connected to a similar crime
earlier this week in Scranton.
Police caution about water inspector
06/04 - Leavenworth police are cautioning local residents about
an alleged thief who has been posing as a water department employee.
The Leavenworth Police Department received reports Thursday of
incidents in which the man told residents he needed to work inside
their homes as a result of a water main break.
Once inside, the man has taken money, according to Leavenworth
police Lt. Pat Kitchens.
The man has been described as a white male in his late 20s or
early 30s. He has a thin mustache and sandy-colored hair. He has
tattoos on his knuckles and earlobes. He also is missing four upper
The man did not make threats, Kitchens said. But in one case he
asked a resident to check a water heater in another part of the
house, giving him an opportunity to search the house.
Kitchens said he contacted the Leavenworth Water Department and
was told employees generally do not go into homes to perform work.
The employees also drive blue vehicles with water department logos
and wear clothing that identify their department.
Flooring Offer Scam - Possible Distraction
Burglary / Advance Fee Fraud
By John Lyon - times record - Arkansas
06/24/04 - A flooring material that supposedly is guaranteed to
prevent falls is the latest product being offered by scam artists
in Van Buren, according to police.
An 82-year-old Van Buren woman reported that she was approached
Monday by a man who offered to sell her a type of laminated flooring
that he claimed is guaranteed to prevent elderly people from slipping
and falling, Van Buren police Cpl. Rob Rogers said. The woman told
police the man said she would receive a $400 credit from Social
Security if she had the flooring installed in her home.
The Social Security credit offer the man described does not exist,
Rogers said. Police suspect the man’s entire proposal was
bogus, he said.
The woman told police the man approached her outside her home
and claimed he recognized her because they go to the same church.
The woman did not recognize the man.
“Nobody at the church knows who this guy is," Rogers said.
While he was making his sales pitch, the man called to a younger
man in a vehicle, and the younger man produced a flooring sample
for the woman to inspect, Rogers said. The older man told the woman
he would need $60 in advance, and they could discuss the rest of
his fee later.
The man also offered to carpet the woman’s home for $100,
Rogers said. The woman became suspicious and did not take him up
on either offer.
Rogers said the woman was wise not to make a deal with the man,
who may have been seeking to swindle her or to get into her house
to rob or assault her.
Sneaky thieves scam pensioners through
burglary then impersonating officials and police
By RACHEL GRUNWELL - stuff.co.nz
01/05 -New Zealand - Eighty-year-old Shirley Scott feels duped, angry
and "absolutely tormented".
She is among a string of female pensioners targeted by a gang of girls
operating a sophisticated scam, which involves the thieves sneaking into
pensioners' houses to steal credit cards.
They later phone the victims as bogus bank workers, asking for pin numbers,
getting a friend to pretend to be a police sergeant to convince the victims
to release the details.
The thieves strike when the elderly leave their doors open while they
hang out washing or do the garden. Police say many of the burgled elderly,
living throughout Auckland and Hamilton, are terrified to live alone.
Police have released pictures of two of the suspects to the Sunday Star-Times,
hoping the public will lead them to the offenders who have taken tens
of thousands of dollars. In one case, it was a pensioner's entire savings.
"I think they're scum for targeting the elderly," says Takapuna police constable
"The thieves are also stealing significant things like jewellery which makes
them upset, and that makes me upset."
But Shirley Scott says she's mad, not sad.
"If I got hold of them, I tell you what I would like to do . . . I would be up
for assault," she said.
"It's not so much the stealing, but the torture they put you through by ringing
up later and pretending to be someone they aren't."
Scott's Auckland home was burgled on November 30 about 3.30pm. She left
her front door open while weeding her garden, allowing thieves to sneak
into her bedroom and take her handbag. A tin box containing a gold ring,
passport, marriage licence and her dead husband's seven World War II
medals were also stolen.
When Scott went inside for a cup of tea about 4.15pm she answered the
phone to a woman who said she was from the Bank of New Zealand. She was
in fact a scam artist.
She told Scott the bank was concerned someone was trying to use one of
her cheques without authority. Scott looked for her cheque book and discovered
her bag missing.
Scott asked the "bank worker" to cancel her credit cards and cheque book
as they had been stolen. The woman then said she required Scott's pin
Scott told the woman she should not do this over the phone, but when
she put a pretend "police officer" on the phone to confirm it was OK,
Scott believed her.
"They sounded so believable and polite," said Scott.
Later another woman rang and purported to be an officer, saying police
had recovered Scott's stolen goods. She said not to worry or do anything
as her items could be picked up from a North Shore police station the
The criminals used the afternoon to spend $3700 on perfume, clothes,
Lotto tickets and getting cash from ATM machines. More than $1000 was
spent in a clothing store.
The next day, when a real bank worker rang Scott about her out-of-character
spending, Scott knew she had been duped. "Oh I felt sick. I'm still mad
and angry with myself that I was duped like that."
The BNZ has refunded half her losses and an insurance company reimbursed
the remainder, but her husband's war medals can never be replaced.
She has also lost her trust in people and is paranoid about locking doors
- even when hanging out her washing.
"I used to be so trusting. But I was taken in . . . they were just so professional," said
Scott, who wants to warn the public they should never give their pin numbers
over the phone to anyone.
English said Scott's case was one of four connected North Shore burglaries
in November and December, on women aged between 70 and 80. Police suspect
at least another six burglaries could also be the work of the same gang.
"These are the only numbers I know about. There are bound to be many more elderly
affected," said English.
The suspects sometimes wear dark-coloured trucker caps with white writing
on the front, are casually dressed and could pass as students aged in
their late teens to early 20s.
UK Pensioner praised after foiling distraction
01/07 - Police have praised an 84-year-old Taunton man after he
thwarted distraction burglars by following the "doorstep code."
The man was approached by offenders who claimed that they were
from the water board.
But the wary pensioner refused to let them into his Coronation
Close home in Ruishton, demanding to see their identity. They declined
and he then called the council, refusing them entry. They eventually
gave up and left.
DCI Martyn Triggol of the Somerset West policing district said: "The
pensioner did everything we advise people to do when they have
callers to their home, purporting to be officials from various
organisations. We encourage them to use the Doorstep Code, when
responding to unexpected callers.
"You should look through a window or door viewer to see who
is at the door first. Then consider opening the door on a chain.
Genuine callers will carry identification cards, and will not mind
waiting outside whilst a phone call is made to verify their credentials.
"You should only let people into your home if you are completely
satisfied concerning their identity.
"We also encourage people to keep an eye elderly and vulnerable
neighbours," said DCI Triggol.
However police are concerned about burglaries in the West Somerset
area between Monday January 22 and Wednesday January 24,
In the first incident in Dulverton an 83-year-old woman disturbed
three men who were in the sitting room of her Haddon View home,
in Brompton Regis. They were looking through her writing desk.
After a brief conversation the victim starting screaming and waving
her walking stick at them. They then fled taking with them a quantity
The offenders were described as two men, aged between 30-40 years,
clean-shaven of average height and stocky. They were wearing matching
navy blue overalls of smart appearance. There was also a third
man but no description.
On January 24 in Laxton Road, Taunton, at about 4.10pm an elderly
man disturbed three men in his hallway. One of them pushed past
the victim and ushered him back into the kitchen, saying that they
were workmen and asked him to turn the taps on. One of the men
searched the living room and all three offenders were ordered out
of the property.
Police have released the following descriptions. The first offender
is described as a white man is 6ft tall of medium build, aged 25-30
years, with a sharp jaw line, possibly a light moustache. He was
wearing a small knitted dark blue or black hat and a long sleeved
dark blue or black zip-up jacket.
The second man is described as a white man, 20-25 years, 5ft 5ins
tall, of medium build, having a round boyish face with chubby cheeks.
He was wearing a dark brown flat cap and a long-sleeved blue coat.
The third offender is described as a white man about 5ft 8ins
tall, aged 25 of solid build with short dark hair sticking out
of the back of a flat cap. He was wearing a long-sleeved top.
In another incident on the same day between 4-4.30pm at Ilminster
Road, Taunton (which was only about 100 metres from the previous
incident) a 92-year-old man was disturbed by a breathless man,
claiming to be from a company called "DV9 water services." He
told the victim to flush his upstairs toilet. The victim agreed
but told the offender to follow him, asking him questions. The
suspect left a short while later. It is not believed anything was
The offender was described as a white man in his 30s. He was wearing
what appeared to be a boiler suit in a khaki or brown colour.
The other incident reported happened between 4.30-5pm in Mill
Bay, North Petherton when a 91-year-old woman heard tapping on
her kitchen window. When she opened the door she was confronted
by three men, who claimed they were from the water board and had
come to do work on her water pipes. They then proceeded to push
their way in, again claiming to be from the water board, asking
for loan of a screwdriver or knife. While one of the men kept the
victim in the kitchen another used the knife to force open a bureau
and take a significant amount of cash and leave. The other men
then left the property.
One of the offenders was described as a white man, 30-40 years
old, between 5ft 4ins to 5ft 8ins tall, with a round face, of hubby
build, wearing a knitted black hat and a navy blue, dark brown
or green coloured boiler suit.
A second man was described as a white man, about 6ft tall wearing
a boiler suit, while the third offender was described as being
in his 30s, about 5ft 4ins tall, with short light coloured hair
and wearing a boiler suit.
Anyone with any information about the incidents is asked to contact
the burglary team at Taunton police station on 0845 4567000.
Life Savings Lost to Repairman Burglary
Milford Daily News
07/06 - NORTHBRIDGE, MA-- A man and woman posing as roof repair
contractors yesterday stole a safe and other items from a local
homeowner, police said, the same scam in which an elderly Natick
woman lost her life savings earlier this week.
The team approached a Rockdale resident, suggesting the roof
of his home needed repairs, according to police.
According to police, the man left the homeowner and the woman
in a rear room while he went "outside" to "check
the roof." Soon after, police said, the man returned with
an estimate and offered to reduce the price if the resident paid
After the man and woman left, police said, the homeowner noticed
he was missing a safe and other items. He called police around
The resident described the man as having dark hair with a goatee,
and wearing a dark T-shirt and jeans. The resident described the
woman as having long, dark hair and wearing make-up, police said.
According to police, the resident said the couple left in a black
Anyone with information should call police at 508-234-6211.
On Monday, a similar incident happened in Natick. An elderly
widow had her life savings stolen from her house by a pair of roving
scam artists who conned their way into her home, Natick Police
The woman, in her late 70s, discovered the $17,000 in cash she
kept hidden in a box was empty, and investigators believe the pair
who were in the house Monday took it, Detective James Ordway said.
On Monday, the homeowner, whom police did not name, answered
a knock at her door. There, a man and a woman -- his daughter the
man claimed -- were at the door and told the woman that it appeared
the roof needed repairs.
The woman let the pair into the house. The "daughter" went
into the living room to sit with the homeowner while the man went
to inspect the house, Ordway said.
"He's free around the house, and he's making it sound like he's working
on it -- he's banging on the walls, he makes some noise on the roof," Ordway
After about a half hour, the pair left, and the woman discovered
her hidden life savings was gone, Ordway said.
The traveling thieves are not new to the MetroWest area, Ordway
said. He said they migrate north from Florida and look for elderly
people to scam. Ordway said people should call the police if anyone
they do not know comes to the door offering home repairs. He also
said large amounts of cash should not be kept in a home.
Scam artists now posing as utility workers
7/06 - (South Carolina) There are scam artists at work and their
targets of preference seem to be the elderly.
The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department has reported two
instances of scams against the elderly that are strikingly similar
to one used against an Orangeburg County woman about two weeks
In each of the cases, the scam artist used the same ruse, asking
the elderly person to walk outside in their yard with him. One
of the scam artists posed as a cable installer. In two of the cases,
the scam artist posed as a representative from a utility company.
In all the instances, while the person was outside with the scam
artist, another person entered the home and stole items.
Times and Democrat
Roof Repair Burglary Scammer Steals Cash from
09/07 - CROMWELL, CT - Police are warning local senior citizens
of a scam perpetrated by a man and a woman who stole more than
$3,000 from an 82-year-old man Thursday afternoon.
The victim, a Ledge Road resident who recently had the roof on
his house replaced, told police he was approached by the pair Thursday
about 2 p.m.
The couple said they worked for the contractor who had installed
the resident's roof, Police Chief Anthony J. Salvatore said. They
claimed the contractor had overbilled the resident and said they
would pay him $50 a week until the amount was repaid.
The pair then tricked the resident into revealing where he kept
his money. Then, while the woman distracted the resident, the man
went into the house and took more than $3,000. The pair then left.
Police are investigating.
Salvatore also said he did not think the pair knew beforehand
that the man had more than $3,000 in his house.
Similar incidents may have happened in other towns, Salvatore
said, though he declined to elaborate. He advised all residents
not to allow strangers into their homes and to ask for identification
from anyone they are uncertain about.
The victim told police that the man and woman were around 40 years
old. He described the man as Latino, having dark hair, 5 feet 10
inches tall and weighing about 150 pounds. He described the woman
as white, 5 feet 8, and about 130 pounds.
Police ask anyone with information about the incident to call
Victims Flush Away Valuables in Utility Worker
Distraction Burglary Scam
09/07 - SAN DIEGO, CA – Police identified at least two more
victims in a burglary scam involving a man who poses as a wastewater
district employee to gain entry into homes and then steals valuables.
The first incident happened at a home on Aragon Drive in the Redwood
Village neighborhood and the second and third occurred a week later
in Serra Mesa on Amulet Street and in Allied Gardens on Glenroy
In each case, victims reported that a man wearing a mechanic's
uniform came to the door claiming to be an employee with the city
of San Diego Metropolitan Wastewater Department or the city's sewer
department, San Diego police said.
He told the residents that he needed to check the plumbing or
water pressure inside the home. While they were distracted, he
took valuables, including jewelry, wallets and cash, police said.
In the Serra Mesa case on Monday, he told a 75-year-old woman
to go to a front bathroom and flush the toilet three times on his
command, police said.
In the Allied Gardens case, he told the residents, a couple ages
79 and 84, that he needed to check their home's drains.
The exact age of the first victim was not released by police although
a spokeswoman said the woman was at least 50.
The burglar is described as 35 to 40 years old, 5 feet 6 inches
tall and clean shaven. The man does not show any type of identification
or paperwork. Victims described him as polite.
The victims told police they did not see him driving in a vehicle.
Police want the public to know that city wastewater employees
rarely need access inside customer's homes because most of their
work involves public property.
Residents can verify whether a person works for the wastewater
department by calling (858) 292-6484 during business hours or (619)
515-3525 after hours.
Additionally, all city employees carry photo identification with
them and must show it if asked.
Anyone with information about the series is asked to call police
at (858) 495-7900 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-TIPS.
A police spokeswoman said you should never let someone you do
not know inside your home.
Caller Fraud - article
Distraction Burglary Articles