Rockford Police Warning Public of Distraction Burglaries

By: WIFR Newsroom
By: WIFR Newsroom

More information about "Distraction or Ruse Burglaries":

Distraction burglary is a crime in which elderly persons are often the targets. The perpetrator seeks to draw a resident out of the house on a pretext. While the resident is occupied, an accomplice enters the home and picks up valuables such as money and jewelry. Thieves may also pick up papers with the intent of committing identity theft. In a variation, the accomplice enters the dwelling by a second door while the resident is occupied at the other door.

To prevent distraction burglary, be suspicious of anyone who comes to your door under any of these guises:
•Utility worker
•Public official
•Police officer
•Firefighter
•Door-to-door salesperson
•Person asking about a lost pet
•Lost person asking for directions
•Person asking about working on the property
•Surveyor
In a recent variation, criminals tell the residents that they have won a gift card or other prize.

In the case of someone claiming to be on official business, it's a good idea to ask for identification, but that can be faked. It's a better idea to call the agency and confirm that there are legitimate workers in the area. Be especially suspicious of anyone who wants access to your home. In addition, follow these other practices:
•Do not leave your purse or wallet out in the open.
•Keep jewelry and small valuables in a safe. Use jewelry boxes only for costume jewelry.
•Keep all doors locked. If you believe a caller has a legitimate reason to get you out of the house, pick up your key and lock the house behind you.

Elderly individuals may be targeted for the following reasons:
•They are more likely to live alone.
•They may need help in maintaining their property and may thus be especially vulnerable to those wanting to do yard work, trim trees, maintain fencing and do similar tasks.
•They may suffer from impaired cognition or judgment.
•They are often conscientious individuals who want to be cooperative.

Do your part to foil distraction burglars by passing on this information to individuals who may be targeted. If a suspicious incident occurs, report it immediately to prevent others in your area from being victimized. It is especially important that victims do not let their embarrassment about falling for a ruse keep them from reporting the crimes. Do not let down your guard even if the person knocking on your door is female or has children in tow. This is another strategy for getting residents to relax their guard.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Police say that on the afternoon of Saturday, October 19th a Rockford woman became the victim of a "Distraction or Ruse Burglary" in the 4300 block of Sovereign Blvd on the City's southeast side.

A white man described as being between 30-40 years of old, 5'11, 175 pounds and wearing a black shirt approached a 55-year-old woman who was outside working in the yard. She was the caretaker for the 95-year old-homeowner. The man asked the caretaker if she would like her gutters cleaned out. When the caretaker entered the home to speak with the resident the man removed a ladder from the garage and placed it on the home. The caretaker came back outside and informed the suspect they did not want the work done and he replaced the ladder in garage and then left walking westbound on Sovereign Blvd. During this time a second man had entered the home through the rear and removed cash out of the caretaker's purse. The 95-year-old homeowner witnessed the second subject and informed the caretaker, who discovered the theft of money.

If you have further information on this crime or similar crimes in the area please alert the Rockford Police Department immediately.


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