Deception thieves in Four-Nine

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It’s a scam that’s been worked on elderly victims before.

A team of deception thieves are back again, and cops in the 49th Precinct are asking the public to be on alert.

The latest victim to be hit by a team of crooks was an elderly Allerton woman, they said.

In this case, the crime involved two male Hispanics, one with a skinny build man standing at 5-feet-8, and the other described as “chubby.”

One of the suspects dressed as an inspector with the city Department of Environmental Protection flashed a fake ID to the woman who was in the middle of yard work outside her two-story home on Morgan Avenue and Pelham Parkway North, according to police.

“The perp explained to her that there may be water contamination and requested to check the water and drainpipes in the house,” said Det. Vic DiPierro with the Four-Nine’s Community Affairs Unit.

Rifling for cash

The victim soon led the DEP-dressed man to the basement, while the second man wearing no uniform stood upstairs to rummage for cash and jewels. The second man shortly came down to explain everything was fine, and soon left with the other man.

Realizing she was robbed, the woman called the police. Cops canvassed the neighborhood soon after, though they came up short.

The crime has now become a teachable moment for the Four-Nine, spreading word to community groups on the dangers of deception theft, a pre-meditated crime where thieves often pose as utility or delivery workers to gain access to a home.

“It’s not something on a whim,” said DiPierro. “They’re watching people like the elderly woman.”

Work in pairs

They often work in pairs, he said, with one distracting the victim, and the other scavenging for items.

While the crime is considered sporadic within the Four-Nine’s borders, DiPierro notes blips happen in “little chunks.”

The most recent case mirrors one that happened early this year, when a two-man crew posing as repairmen robbed several elderly homeowners in Morris Park.

“When they target the elderly, it’s the lowest form of trickery,” said DiPierro, who’s now warning folks to be mindful of who they allow in.

“We encourage people obviously not to open their door if they’re not expecting anybody,” said DiPierro. “And if someone does come to their apartment or house that they don’t expect, to call 911.”

Precinct commanding officer Deputy Inspector Lorenzo Johnson has increased patrols in the area, keeping an eye out for any thieves.

Concerned residents interested in learning more on how to prevent this from happening can call Crime Prevention Officer Tyrone Mederos at 718-918-2026.

“Better be safe than sorry,” said DiPierro.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3383
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CNG: Community Newspaper Group