Keep an Eye Out Update!
The Phoenix Police Department is working to identify and apprehend suspects who, using the same or similar methods, have been specifically burglarizing older residents. Nearly 40 of these crimes have been reported and we need your help in spreading the word.
Usually an unknown person will knock on the door of a soon to be victim’s home and introduce himself as a local utility repairman or a construction company representative. This suspect will normally carry a clipboard, a measuring tape and some type of 2-way radio or walkie-talkie. The suspect will then ask the victim if they will escort them to their backyard because they need to take measurements for upcoming work (such as installing water pipes or electrical conduit) or need to locate existing features which need to be repaired (like underground wires). While in the backyard the suspect will engage the victim in conversation, typically for 10-15 minutes, and will often ask the victim to help take or write down measurements. Meanwhile a second suspect will enter the house through the unlocked front door and, taking mostly jewelry and cash, burglarize the home. The 2-way radio is then used to notify the suspect still in the backyard that the crime is done and they can leave.
Victims of this scam have ranged in age from 60 to 102 years old and most were home alone at the time of the crime. Other cities are reporting similar crimes and to date there are a total of 60 cases in the metro area. If you are faced with such an encounter make sure you request identification from the person at your door. Also call the company they say the represent to confirm any work is being done in your area before you allow anyone in your home or access to your backyard.
Finally, you can always call CRIME STOP at (602) 262-6151 if you feel the circumstances are suspicious and remember if you ‘See Something-Say Something’.