Ruse Burglaries, Scams on the Rise in Roselle

senior ruseThere has been an increase in the number of ruse burglaries and scams in Roselle this spring and summer. These crimes are often being committed by career criminals specializing in ruse entries and home repair fraud.

Ruse ploys often begin with the offenders creating an excuse to enter the victim's home. After selecting a home by profiling it, the offenders often claim to be a utility worker, village employee or a contractor. They will enter the home using the ruse of checking something (water pressure, fuses, pipes). While one offender keeps the homeowner occupied, one or more additional offenders enter the home undetected and commit a burglary.

Offenders in these types of crime can obtain thousands of dollars with a relatively low risk of apprehension. Offenders will target victims who are generally less likely to make a good witness due to such things as impaired vision or memory, commonly associated with advanced age. Crimes like this many times go unreported.

The typical ruse burglary takes place Monday through Friday during the day with most occurring between 7:00 a.m. and noon. Offenders will target their victims by driving through neighborhoods looking for seniors doing yard work or by following them from grocery stores or pharmacies.

The Roselle Police Department urges residents to be observant of their surroundings and report suspicious persons or activities when they are occurring. Residents should observe their neighbors' homes for suspicious activities and be aware that these types of crimes occur on a regular basis in every town. By calling their neighbors when they become aware of suspicious activities, they may prevent their neighbor from becoming a victim. Writing down license plates and vehicle descriptions may assist police at a later time if a crime is reported.

If you are approached by someone purporting to be a worker needing to enter your house, DO NOT LET THEM IN without first contacting the utility, Village or the police. By requesting identification from the worker you may prevent yourself from becoming a victim by showing the offender that you are alert to the possibility that they are not who they claim to be.

The Village of Roselle provides employees with identification cards which are required to be worn. Utility companies such as ComEd, Nicor, Comcast and AT&T also have identification cards. Utility workers will also have utility service vehicles, so be wary of "workers" without an official vehicle. Utility workers from those companies which provide services to your home will generally only be coming to your home at your request, so if someone shows up at your door, verify who they are.

Additionally, avoid home repair scams by never allowing someone to perform driveway sealing or other repairs on the spot. Residents are advised not to let transient workers perform repair work without providing a business card, allowing you to check on the reputation of the business.

If ever in doubt, or if the person is persistent in entering your home, close and lock your door and call 9-1-1 immediately. The Police Department would rather investigate an innocent misunderstanding than have a victim of this type of crime.