Police are alerting homeowners – especially elderly ones who are favored targets – to be on guard after a recent wave of “deception burglaries,” as police label them, flaring up in the east Bronx.
Three incidents were reported to police in little over a week in early January, including two in Morris Park where two male white thieves posed as repair people investigating a leak, and one in Pelham Gardens where the perpetrators impersonated home repair people fixing a fence.
Once inside the house, one thief stays with the resident continuing the ruse, while the other steals jewelry and other portable valuables.
The NYPD recently released a police artist’s sketch of one of the suspects.
The 49th Precinct is alerting homeowners, especially the elderly, to remain vigilant.
The perpetrators appear to be targeting the elderly, said 49th Precinct community affairs officer Victor DiPierro. An 89-year-old and a 72-year-old woman were victims, while the third was an elderly man.
“In two of the three burglaries the employees posed as water or plumbing officials that were looking into a leak,” said DiPierro.
He said the thieves come to the door and say they have to go to the basement and see the pipes. One person goes upstairs and steals jewelry and other items while the other perpetrator is downstairs with the homeowner.
“These are disturbing crimes that we don’t want to have keep happening, because the elderly are always the targets of these types of burglaries,” said DiPierro.
Police believe that the two incidents in Morris Park have separate perpetrators from the one in Pelham Gardens.
The precinct is offering tips on avoiding being a victim.
“Under no circumstances should you be opening your door and let anyone into your home that you are not expecting,” said DiPierro. “You know if you have something wrong with your home and you call for a repair, such as if there is a power outage or if you do have a water problem. If you are calling someone, you are expecting them.”
DiPierro added: “But, if someone is knocking on your door for no apparent reason and telling you that there is a leak or that they need to check your pipes…do not open the door and call 911.”
The bandits often drive around the area to determine who is elderly and living alone.
He said any details anyone can provide to police would be helpful. Such as in the Pelham Gardens theft, where the targteted homeowner noticed the thieves speed away in a silver pickup truck.
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3393