Thieves target elderly in distraction burglaries

November 08, 2018 06:52 PM

Rotterdam Police are investigating after thieves hit two homes on Wednesday morning, in what investigators are calling "distraction burglaries."

"Each victim is elderly, lives alone. I'm not sure how they're determining their targets, whether they're doing some type of internet search that indicates a potential house that they should target or if they're doing surveillance," said Lieutenant Bill Male.

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Officers say homes were hit on Delmar Avenue and Fort Hunter Road. On Delmar Avenue, police say a man gained access to a house by claiming to be a utility worker needing to check water pressure in the basement. When the homeowner took the man downstairs, another man entered the home and stole personal items -- including banking information.

On Fort Hunter Road, police believe the same two men were involved, this time posing as National Grid employees. One of the men said he needed to check power lines in the backyard. As the homeowner took him back, the second man entered the house and items were stolen.

The burglaries happened within 30 minutes of each other.

Officers say legitimate utility workers should have proper identification on them and urge residents to make sure they verify someone's identity before allowing them inside. 

The suspects are described as two white males, one tall and skinny and the other short and stocky. Surveillance cameras from nearby businesses and witness accounts suggest the pair are traveling in a small white SUV or sedan.


Jacquie Slater

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