NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk police are warning residents – especially the elderly – to be on the lookout for con artists who may try to worm their way into their homes.
“Distraction” burglaries are perpetrated by thieves who seek to draw their victims outside the house, or to another part of the house, while an accomplice sneaks in and steals valuables like cash, jewelry and personal papers, police said.
Sometimes the bad guy might appear at the front door, and engage the homeowner in conversation, while the accomplice enters the dwelling out of their sight, police said.
Elderly folks -- who are more likely to live alone or have cognitive problems, or who are more prone to being helpful -- are favorite targets, police said.
The thieves can pose as anyone from a utility worker, to a door-to-door salesman, to someone asking about a lost pet or for directions.
Some burglary crews like to use female accomplices, often with children in tow, because people are more likely to trust women and let their guards down, police said.
In a recent variation of the game, police said, con artists tell their victims that they have won a gift card or other prize.
Asking for identification is advised, though IDs can be faked, police said.
It’s better to call the agency the person is purporting to represent to see if they’re legit.
Police also reminded residents that they are under no obligation to let someone in their house if they don’t have a search warrant.
To thwart thieves, you should do the following, police said.
- Don’t leave your purse or wallet out in the open.
- Put valuables in a safe and only use jewelry boxes for costume pieces.
- Keep your doors locked at all times. And even if there’s a legitimate reason to go outside, take your key with you and lock the door behind you.
- Finally, if you suspect something is up, notify authorities, and tell your neighbors so they don’t fall victim to fraudsters, police advised.
For more information, call Norwalk detectives Bill Maloney, at 203-854-3186, or John Taranto at 203-854-3102.
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