The Homewood Police Department sent out an email notice Wednesday, Nov. 5, advising residents to be aware of a continuing problem with ruse burglaries in the Chicagoland area.
In a ruse burglary, perpetrators use false identities and information to gain access to victim’s residences. Senior citizens are commonly targeted with this approach, according to police.
Burglars may pose as new neighbors, utility workers, a village employee, or a construction worker, for example.
They often provide a false story, typically saying they are installing a fence and need you to check the property line, are checking on your electrical box inside the residence, are checking on your water meter or working on broken water main, are cutting trees or performing some service that may affect your property or are checking on work that was done for you or your neighbor.
The purpose of the false identity and story is to distract the victim in or outside your home so an accomplice can enter the residence unnoticed. Cash and jewelry are common items taken from the home, police said.
Police recommend residents call 911 if there is someone at their home who appears to be deceptive.
“The Homewood Police Department will come out and verify the identity of anyone in your neighborhood,” said Chief Lawrence Burnson in the advisory.
He also recommends that residents ask for identification from anyone that comes to their door and wants to enter the home.
Employees for the Village of Homewood and of utility or cable companies will have work identification with them.
Ask what company the person works for and call that company to verify.
Write down any vehicle information such as license plate, make, model and color.
“A legitimate business representative will not have problem with you verifying their information,” Burnson said. “Someone who becomes argumentative or hostile towards you should be a red flag.”
In addition to 911, other numbers to use to report deceptive practices include the police dispatch center, (708) 799-6623, and the police department non-emergency number, (708) 206-3420.