"GREENSBORO, NC (June 30, 2015) – Greensboro police are warning the public about a traveling band of thieves who burglarize the homes of elderly residents by scamming their way inside the door.
The suspects are looking for temporary work – usually in light construction or home repair. The group also looks for ways to make fast cash by cruising upper middle-class or affluent neighborhoods, looking for elderly people who may be potential targets for their scams.
After selecting a potential victim, they will create a ruse to get the home-owner to let them inside the residence.
On June 26, the suspects scammed their way into a home on Joan Ave. by pretending to sell flooring. The occupants allowed the two men inside in order to hear the sales pitch. Once inside, the older of the two distracted the homeowners, and obscured their line of sight with a large roll of linoleum. The younger man then went throughout the home stealing valuables. The homeowners did not realize their property was missing until after the pair had left.
The older suspect is described as a white male in his late 60’s or early 70’s; 5’8”; 170 lbs with gray hair and wearing eyeglasses. They younger man who was introduced as the older suspect’s grandson is described as a white male in his twenties. They are believed to be operating a newer model white Toyota Camry or similar style vehicle with dark tinted windows.
They most likely have been involved in other burglaries as they transit from the south to the northern states for the summer, and will likely attempt to re-offend on their return trip.
Transient criminals are a challenge for law enforcement. They pass through communities committing home repair scams and burglaries before quickly moving on to new areas and new victims. In some instances, they have posed as antique furniture buyers as a way to gain entry into a home.
Police stress that the best way to prevent being victimized is to be wary of any unsolicited offers by people who arrive at your home – whether it be to purchase furniture, make repairs or sell something.
Never let strangers in your home without verifying that their identification is valid. Don't be afraid of asking: if they are legitimate they won't mind. Call their company if you are not sure, and deal only with reputable businesses.
Police also encourage residents to keep an inventory with serial numbers and photographs of electronics and valuables. Leave copies in a safe place, or keep an electronic inventory on ReportIt at https://reportit.leadsonline.com/ ReportIt lets you securely store serial numbers, item descriptions, pictures, and scans of receipts so that your items may be more easily identified in the event of theft or loss.
A study conducted by the Hollywood Police Department in Florida indicates that 65 percent of all crimes perpetrated by transient criminals involve victims 60 years of age or older.
Senior citizens are often chosen as potential victims because:
• They are usually at home during the day, and are often alone.
• They grew up in an era of less crime and are usually more trusting.
• They often keep large amounts of cash and valuables in their homes.
• They may have limited memory and eyesight, making them bad witnesses.
• They often do not report crimes against them for fear of being considered senile.
Police are asking residents to be increasingly vigilant for these types of scams, and take precautions to avoid being victimized.
Anyone who may have seen the suspects in their community, or may have unwittingly let them into their home is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 336-373-1000 or text keyword badboyz and your tip to 274637. All calls to crime stoppers are completely anonymous. Greensboro/Guilford Crime Stoppers will pay a cash reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to the arrest or indictment of the individual(s) responsible."
- A Press Release