Ruse Burglaries Spike in Summer, Chicago Still the Worst

Posted by , , at 1:41 pm

“Ruse burglaries” continue to make the news, and while they can occur anywhere, they still seem to be concentrated in the Chicago area. Now that summer is here, I know there will be even more ruse reports. These home intrusions start out with a deception and a distraction, and often end in significant losses for the unwary homeowner. In this news story from Romeoville, Illinois, the homeowners experienced more than a loss of property – this account is downright scary.

Police continue to follow up on leads after a home invasion that left a 99-year-old and her 62-year-old son duct-taped and robbed. Assistant Police Chief Steve Lucchesi said investigators are looking into similar incidents in which seniors were targeted by thieves posing as workers. “It appears it is a gypsy type of crime,” Lucchesi said of the April 11 robbery.

What Happened

In the incident, a man knocked on the family’s door in the 700 block of Washington Avenue and claimed to be a utility worker, police said. When the 62-year-old resident refused his request to come inside and check the water pressure in the home, the burglar was joined by two other men and the trio forced their way into the home. In the process, the thieves knocked the 99-year-old woman to the floor, injuring her arm. They then put her in a chair with duct tape covering her mouth and demanded money, according to police. Her 62-year-old son was also duct-taped to a chair but was unhurt in the robbery.

What They Stole

The men took an undisclosed amount of cash before fleeing in what witnesses described as a black Ford F-150 pick-up truck, police said. Lucchesi said investigators are looking into a possible connection between the April 11 robbery and other incidents, including a March 28 ruse burglary in Darien. In that incident, a woman in her 80s was distracted by a man posing as a contractor while two others ransacked her home.

Classic Approach: Pretense & Accomplice

Typically what happens in a ruse burglary is one of two individuals come to the door and tell the resident they work for the utility company, cable company or a landscaping business and need to do work in the backyard. While the homeowner is distracted, another individual will enter the home looking for valuables, notably jewelry or cash.

A Repeat Visit?

Lucchesi also said the April 11 incident was not the first time the Washington Avenue home was targeted. “They had reported previously that someone had come to the house offering to trim their trees,” Lucchesi said. In that incident, the suspected burglar attempted to get the relatives to come outside with him to look at the trees. Lucchesi cautioned residents not to let anyone they don’t know into their homes, and not to open the door to any unsolicited workers. “We’re telling people, obviously, don’t answer your door, especially if you’re elderly,” Lucchesi said.

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.

Comments (4)

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  1. Alan

    Awesome reminder, Peter!

    As a guy, I feel silly being wary through the door, but I need to remind myself that if it looks at all suspicious through the peephole, I should talk through the door/side window and tell them I’m not interested. Especially if early morning or evening/night.

    Guys are societal conditioned to be manly, be there can be a price for it, so pick your times to be brave as wisely as possible. Better to let all that nonsense go completely and do what’s safest if possible. I’ve come a long way, but still need to work on this.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Alan – I’ve never seen so many warnings as I have this summer about people at the door. It could be a burglar casing your house while pretending to ask for directions – or even pretending to be an ADT sales! Or it could be one of these ruse burglars – or it could one of the aggressive “door knockers” using fraudulent and deceptive practices to pressure you into buying an alarm system. These days, it’s hard to tell.

  2. Alan

    Awesome reminder, Peter!

    As a guy, I feel silly being wary through the door, but I need to remind myself that if it looks at all suspicious through the peephole, I should talk through the door/side window and tell them I’m not interested. Especially if early morning or evening/night.

    Guys are societal conditioned to be manly, be there can be a price for it, so pick your times to be brave as wisely as possible. Better to let all that nonsense go completely and do what’s safest if possible. I’ve come a long way, but still need to work on this.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Alan – I’ve never seen so many warnings as I have this summer about people at the door. It could be a burglar casing your house while pretending to ask for directions – or even pretending to be an ADT sales! Or it could be one of these ruse burglars – or it could one of the aggressive “door knockers” using fraudulent and deceptive practices to pressure you into buying an alarm system. These days, it’s hard to tell.