The Cook County Sheriff’s Office is urging residents, especially senior citizens, to be wary of people claiming to be home repair, utility or village workers, but who have no identification and show up to homes without an appointment made.
In one of the more recent cases, a 75-year-old woman living in the 11000 block of West 167th Street of unincorporated Orland Township was burglarized Friday between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. by a man who claimed to be a ComEd electrician, and was let into the woman’s house, according to a release from the sheriff’s office. The man did not show identification.
Often with such situations, the burglars work in teams of at least two people, where one will distract the home owner or resident, while another steals valuables and cash, according to the sheriff’s office. The one claiming to be a worker will start off with a question about the residence, and try to lure the person outside or into the basement. Then they alert their partner to go into the residence and steal items by talking in a language different from English, according to the release.
This incident is the fourth ruse burglary in unincorporated Orland Park since 2011, said Sophia Ansari, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office. Number of ruse burglaries within Orland Park was not available Wednesday afternoon.
The man who claimed to be a ComEd employee was described as 5 feet 11 inches, weighing between 250 and 290 pounds, wearing work boots, a black, puffy quilted jack and a dark hat, Ansari said.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart offered the following tips to help avoid being victimized by ruse burglaries.
- Ask for workers’ identification before opening the door
- Ask what company the person works for, and call the company to verify the person’s identity and reason for business before letting that person inside your home.
- Call the city, village or utility to verify a worker’s identify if the individual says they are a city, village or utility employee before letting the worker inside.
- Note any vehicle information – license plate, color, make and model of the vehicle
- Call 911 immediately if you encounter anyone suspicious
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