Montgomery County police are warning about distraction burglaries after three recent cases targeting the elderly.
Suspects posed as utility workers to get into homes in two of the burglaries, which are believed to be related. During a third burglary, police say a suspect pretended to be a salesperson in order to steal credit cards.
The first incident happened the afternoon of May 26 in the 10000 block of Forest Grove Drive in Silver Spring. A 78-year-old woman was working in the yard when a female suspect approached her and discussed installing new pipes in her home. The suspect left quickly. The next day, the victim realized that her credit cards had been stolen and used at various locations. Surveillance video later captured a male and a female suspect.
On June 4, police responded to the 4000 block of Adams Drive in the Kensington area for a burglary. A 90-year-old woman told police that a female suspect knocked on her door and claimed to be with the power company. "She told me she was here to check my light meter," said the victim. "And I said I haven't had any problems. And she said that people were having outages." The woman showed the suspect to the meter in her back yard. While they were talking, police believe a male suspect, who was waiting in a red vehicle, entered the home and took items, including jewelry. "My jewelry, it was meaningful, and it'll never be replaced," said the woman. "I guess I trusted people too much."
The third incident was similar to the June 4 burglary. It happened the afternoon of June 12 in the 11500 block of Cushman Road in Rockville. This time the victim was an 84-year-old woman. A female suspect asked to enter the home to check the power meter. The victim let the woman inside while a male suspect came to the door. At one point, the victim left the two suspects alone while she tried to locate the meter. The suspects were gone when she returned. The woman then realized that items had been stolen.
Police are reminding people that all utility workers should carry proper identification. If a worker cannot provide their ID, don't let them inside your home. Authorities are also asking residents to be mindful of seniors, who may be more vulnerable to these types of distraction burglaries.
Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call police at 240-773-6710 or Crime Solvers of Montgomery County at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).