Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Don't Be Fooled By Distraction Burglars

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office is cautioning residents -- especially senior citizens -- to be aware that distraction burglars are again at work.

These criminals generally target senior citizens by deceiving and distracting the victim. They typically pose as tree trimmers, appliance repair workers or contractors pointing to a problem with a roof.

Deputies are investigating a burglary in May in which two men posing as pest control workers tricked their way into a couple’s condo in the Bentley Village retirement community in North Naples.

Once inside, the thieves distracted the couple by “accidentally” spraying the woman with an unknown solution from a spray bottle and then instructing her to take off her rings and wash her hands. While she was in the kitchen washing her hands, her husband was in the bathroom, as instructed by the suspects, checking the water pressure in the shower.

The suspects made off with the woman’s rings, along with other jewelry and a safe.

CCSO urges all residents to 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.

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).