“Ruse burglaries” are back in style all across the US – but the Chicago area seems to have more than its fair share. These home intrusions start out with a deception and a distraction, and often end in significant losses for the unwary homeowner. In a news story from Barrington, IL, the police are on the defensive – and asking for your help.
Barrington police are advising residents to be on the lookout for phony utility and other workers, after a recent rash of ruse burglaries in nearby areas. The ruse occurs when a con artist poses as a worker in order to distract a homeowner, while another member of the burglary crew quickly scours the house to steal valuables. Burglars tend to target the elderly, usually during day time hours to snag cash and jewelry, said Detective Sgt. Kevin Croke.
Where It’s Happening
Though no such attempts or crimes have recently been reported in Barrington, Croke said, the scam has hit some areas in unincorporated Cook County, near Barrington, Palatine Township and Kildeer and Rolling Meadows. “We’ve been noticing an increase in these types of scams. They move around the area,” Croke said of the burglary crews. “We want to take a proactive measure to prevent anyone becoming a victim ahead of time.”
This is a great example of police working proactively to tip off homeowners of a potential threat. I also suspect that the police forces are working together – they often do in this type of situation.
A Typical Ruse Scenario
The most recent incident occurred in Rolling Meadow when two men in a van stopped at a house on Plum Grove Drive at about 4:50 p.m. One man told the elderly homeowners he was their neighbor, police said. When the wife noticed the unidentified man enter the house with her husband, she stopped them. The alleged thief told the woman he bought the house behind them and wanted to talk to them about trees that would interfere with him installing a fence. “She knew the guy was lying and told him to leave,” said police, adding the house behind the couple’s home already has a fence. The woman told police the man continued to ask her questions, but took off after she told him her daughter was coming home and he could ask her questions. “The ruse was there, the burglary wasn’t,” police said.
Another Ruse Example – This Time from Hinsdale
A burglary Thursday afternoon at the home of an elderly Hinsdale resident inspired a wide warning from the Hinsdale Police Department. According to a department press release, officers responded Thursday afternoon to a “ruse-entry residential burglary” at the home of an 83-year-old woman on Mills Street. The release says four white males approached the house, posing as home-repair men. When the victim became suspicious and called 911, the men fled in a black minivan with green and white plates, possibly from Colorado, according to police. “The victim was unharmed and her vigilance in recognizing the potential scam prevented her from the loss of valuables within her home,” the release read.
What You Can Do – Police Advice to Homeowners
“In particular, residents are reminded to be aware of any person(s) that may appear at their doorstep (or their neighbor’s) wishing to provide a service that had not been requested, asking for someone that does not live there, or is acting like they must be at the wrong address.”
Being wise to the ways of the burglar is important – and while protecting against the ruse may not be one of FrontPoint’s Top 10 Home Security Tips, it’s still a good tactic to know. Anything that increases your safety, security, and peace of mind is important to us. We’re the leader in wireless home security, and the #1 ranked alarm company in the US – and we earned that spot with technology, pricing, and customer satisfaction that leaves the others far behind. These days, you even have to worry about some of the alarm salesmen coming to your door! That’s why smart shoppers choose FrontPoint – just read the reviews, and you’ll want a FrontPoint system too.