“Distraction” Thieves Are Burglarizing Elders’ Homes

“Distraction” Thieves Are Burglarizing Elders’ Homes

Thieves posing as roofers, fence installers, utility workers and those of other trades are
burglarizing Denver residences by using distraction tactics on elderly victims to gain
entry into their homes. First, they lure their unsuspecting victims outdoors under false
pretenses, such as to help locate property lines or to assess “damaged power lines”,
trees in need of pruning, etc. While the victim is detained, another partner in on the
crime goes into the home, burglarizes it, and then disappears before the victim realizes
that a crime has taken place.

Unlike the better-known criminals who pitch home improvement scams door-to-door,
“distraction” burglars pose potentially greater harm to their older victims, especially if the
elder confronts the burglar in their home. As a general rule, all residents should be
cautious of any stranger who goes door-to-door asking to use the phone or bathroom,
or who tells a “down on their luck” story in an attempt to get their foot in the door.
Neighbors can be helpful by reporting any suspicious activity to police.

Other precautions to consider:

  • Never open the door to anyone that you don’t know, and never let a stranger into
    your home without checking their credentials first. Utility companies and other
    solicitors that operate in the City of Denver must display visible identification. To
    be on the safe side, refuse the service, shut the door and call the company
    represented by the solicitor to verify their legitimacy.
  • Only talk to strangers through a closed and locked screen door. For peace of
    mind, consider installing locks on all front-door screens.

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