Police warn of "ruse burglaries"


Decatur - Police are investigating after an elderly victim was scammed by a home repair group, offering to resurface the driveway.

The victim said three suspects approached one was a white male in his 60's, a white male in his 30's-40's and a child around 10-years-old. The suspects were in a white truck with tools in the bed.  

The suspects offered to resurface the victim's driveway.  The victim advised them it was too cold for that type of work, and the suspects then said they could repair the cracks at the end of the driveway for a very small amount of money.  The victim agreed to the repair.

The suspects then told the man they need to boil a pot of water with substance to repair the driveway.  While the victim was mixing they suggested he remove his watch to avoid a chemical reaction. The victim walked out of the room, leaving the suspects with the mixture and the valuable watch. When the victim returned the suspects went outside to begin their work on the driveway.

After a short period the suspects told the victim they need to get some supplies. The suspects left, and never returned. The victim then discovered his valuable watch was missing from the kitchen.

This type of crime is common throughout the United States, it is called a "ruse burglary."

To avoid becoming a victim of this type of crime, the Decatur Police Department recommends the following:


*Never let a stranger into your home.  When answering the door to an unexpected stranger, leave the door closed and locked and speak to them through the door, making use of peep holes or windows near the door. 

*Do not rely solely on ID cards to verify a person's legitimacy.  Anyone with basic computer skills can easily make a photo ID card which appears legitimate.



*You do not have to let anyone into your home.  If you have any doubts at all, do not let them in and call police immediately.


*When hiring out for home repairs, use only people that you either know or have confirmed through references.  Utilize the Better Business Bureau to learn more. 


*Always lock windows and doors, including when going out to do yard work. 

*In some cases, perpetrators of these scams will portray themselves as City Inspectors or will state that there is an emergency, e.g. gas leak, which requires evacuation.  If that were actually the case, the notification would be made by uniformed Police Officers or Firefighters, or via telephone using the Code Red system.  Furthermore, real City workers would never have a problem with you calling their department to confirm their identity and reason for being there.  If you have doubts, call the police.


*If it sounds too good to be true, IT IS!


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