A Ruse Burglary begins with the suspects typically looking for elderly residents as victims. Once located, the suspects approach the resident either outside or by knocking on the front door. The suspects often claim to be utility workers, city employees, or contractors. The suspects will then gain entry to the residence using a ruse that they need to check for a potential problem such as bacteria in the water, check utility lines in the back yard, or check electrical outlets.
Once inside the home, one of the suspects will keep the victim distracted in a specific area or lure them outside of the residence. While the homeowner is distracted, additional suspects enter the home and commit theft, targeting cash and jewelry. They target bedrooms, dressers, closets, and small safes.
The suspects often wear a safety vest, lanyard with an ID, and a hat with a face mask to disguise their identity. Suspects will often communicate using handheld radios and are known to drive SUVs and trucks with no markings.
• Consider placing your jewelry in locations other than main dressers in bedrooms
• If a solicitor comes to your residence, try to take notice of the vehicle they are driving (make, model, color, type) as well as their attire and physical characteristics
• Do not allow people into your home unless you know them personally or if they have an appointment
• If you choose to speak with a solicitor or utility worker, never leave your front door unlocked or unattended
• You can verify with the utility company or local government agency if the individual was sent to your residence.
• Share these tips with elderly family members, friends, and neighbors since these crimes occur across Chicagoland.
If you feel you are the victim of a ruse burglary or you have seen suspicious vehicles and persons approaching elderly neighbors, please contact the Police Department by calling 911 immediately to report these incidents.