Burglars Pose as City Workers, General Contractors

Burglars use the art of distraction to steal from homeowners

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC 5

    Police are warning North Texans to beware of burglars posing as city workers or general contractors.

    Since May, at least nine homeowners have been victimized in Fort Worth, Arlington, and Farmers Branch.

    Homeowner Robbed After Distracted by Burglars

    [DFW] Homeowner Robbed After Distracted by Burglars
    Burglars pretending to be general contractors sent to cut the trees on the edge of a neighbor's yard, rob an elderly man. (Published Friday, Jan 13, 2012)

    In all of the cases, the burglars chose random neighborhoods with single-family homes and distracted the residents by luring them outside while at least one burglar would go through the house looking for things to steal.

    "At this time, they are targeting the elderly, but I'm sure that eventually, they will start to target other citizens of this city," Fort Worth Officer Sharron Neal said.

    Fort Worth homeowner Darrell Sweeden, 77, said he fell for the distraction ploy when three men came to his home claiming to be trimming trees for his neighbor. But his neighbor hadn't hired anyone to cut down the trees.

    "They seemed like they knew exactly what they were talking about," said Sweeden.

    The three men were so convincing, Sweeden's wife let them into their home. Sweeden went to the back door in his wheelchair so one man could show him the trees he said he was going to cut down for Sweeden's neighbor along the fence between their homes.

    After the men left, Sweeden realized he was missing a lock box with the deed to his house and other important documents.

    "After it was all over, and I realized what they'd done, it really struck me then," said Sweeden.

    Sweeden says he has his guard up now.

    "Nobody gets in this house unless I know who they are," he said.

    Police say the most common things stolen are jewelry, watches, and money and that the burglars use cellphones to discreetly communicate with each other while committing the crime.

    Police say in some cases, the burglars were a man and a woman and that most of incidents happened between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on a weekday.

    The victims told police the burglars were driving a white, four-door Chevrolet Avalanche pickup with black accents.