Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Distraction Burglary In North Naples

WHAT: Distraction burglary

WHEN: Tuesday, May 19, 2009

LOCATION: 1821 Village Lane, Bentley Village, North Naples

TIME: 4 p.m.

SUMMARY: Deputies are investigating a burglary involving an elderly couple who were tricked into letting two men posing as pest control workers into their condominium in this retirement community.

Collier County Sheriff’s Office investigators gave this account:

The couple arrived at their condo around 4 p.m. to find the suspects, who they didn’t know, standing outside their door with a spray bottle. The suspects told the couple they were spraying for ants.

The suspects asked the couple if they had an ant problem inside their condo and the couple said they did. The suspects then entered the condo with the couple.

They instructed the 88-year-old man to empty out the bathroom cabinets, which he began to do. They asked his wife, 87, to get into the shower and turn on the water to check the pressure, but she declined.

One of the suspects then “accidentally” sprayed her with an unknown solution from his spray bottle. He took her into the kitchen, where he told her to take off her rings and to keep scrubbing her hands in the kitchen sink.

While the woman was in the kitchen, her husband was in the bathroom checking the water pressure in the shower.

The suspects then left abruptly.

After they left, the woman noticed her rings were missing from where she placed them in the kitchen. Other jewelry was missing from her jewelry box.

The couple’s small safe was also missing.

Deputies searched the area but were unable to locate the suspects.

Investigators said both suspects are described as white, about 40 years old and 5 feet 9 inches.

One suspect is heavier, about 185 pounds, and was wearing a long-sleeve white work shirt, long pants and a hat. The other suspect is about 160 pounds with a crew cut and a mustache..
An investigation continues.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at 252-9300, or if you wish to remain anonymous call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477).

CCSO wants residents to be aware of these types of distraction burglars.

These criminals generally target senior citizens by deceiving and distracting the victim. In recent crimes, the suspects have posed as tree trimmers, appliance repair workers or contractors pointing to a problem with a roof.

All residents should take certain precautions if there is a stranger at the door.

CCSO’s Crime Prevention Bureau offers these safety tips:

* Be suspicious of workers who arrive unannounced.

* Never allow a stranger to come into your house.

* Don’t be rushed into emergency repairs. Discuss the problem with a relative, trusted friend or a reputable business by getting a second estimate and confirming the problem.

* Do not provide deposits for work before work is started.

* Do not pay the service until all work is complete and correct.

* Ask for identification and call the company. When calling, have the employee wait outside of your residence and use a number from the phone book and not a number given to you by the worker.

* Always notify CCSO if persons are going from door to door trying to sell you a service or a product , even if they appear to be legitimate. Let deputies confirm their occupational license or the validity of their company. Remember, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

* Anyone worried about a suspicious stranger should call 911 immediately with a description of the individual. Don’t put off calling. Deputies need to know what is happening on your street right away.