Over the past several weeks, the Pennsylvania State Police have received information about possible distraction burglaries and thefts occurring throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Suspects posing as legitimate workers approach elderly homeowners at their residences with the intent of gaining entry under a seemingly legitimate ruse. The real purpose is to divert the homeowner while accomplices search for currency and jewelry.
Some of the more frequently used ploys, by the suspects, are claims to be from the local electric company, water department, cable company, roofing, paving, driveway seal-coating, or other building trade workers, city inspectors, surveyors, tree trimmers, or government personnel from a Social Service Agency.
In some instances, women and children accompany male suspects and participate in the diversion of the homeowner.
The suspects may offer a rebate by giving the victim a $100 bill with a request for change. This allows the suspect(s) to determine where the victim keeps currency in the house. The victim is distracted either inside the house, i.e. turning a light switch on and off, knocking on water pipes, etc.; or outside, i.e. to show the victim damage outside of the home, areas needing repair, determining property lines, etc.
Once the victim is distracted, the unseen suspects enter the home and remove currency and jewelry. In some cases, the suspects have gone as far as to remove safes from the homes.
If someone shows up at your door unannounced claiming to be a utility worker, call your utility company and ask a rep if someone has been scheduled to show up at the house.
Or simply dial 9-1-1 and explain to the communications officer what is occurring.
Lieutenant David C. Buckley
Commanding Officer (Acting)
Pennsylvania State Police
Troop K, Philadelphia
2201 Belmont Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19131