Protect yourself from "deception" burglaries

TOWSON, Md. - Baltimore County police are warning residents, especially the elderly, to be on the lookout for "deception" burglaries as the weather gets warmer.

Police spokesperson Corporal Cathy Batton says thieves take advantage of open doors during warm months to steal from trusting County residents.

The burglaries usually go one of three ways, says Batton, all of which use deception to get into your home.

"We're providing this information to the community in the hope that they will avoid becoming a victim," she says.

One way criminals will try to get into your house is to show up at the door pretending to be a legitimate business, like BGE. Batton warns they may have identification and will ask to enter your home to perform an inspection.

"We always encourage if there is a non-emergency call to your house that you call the company, whether it be BGE or a property management company to verify who's supposed to be there and to ask for ID before you let someone in your house,"  Batton says.  If the person is not supposed to be there, call 911 immediately.

Another deception burglary occurs when a solicitor engages a homeowner in conversation at the front door while their partner sneaks in the back door and robs the house. The robber sneaks back out the rear door and many times the homeowner doesn't realize they've been robbed until weeks later. 

"Always make sure your rear doors are locked, particularly if you are going to be speaking to someone at the front door," Batton says.  

Thieves also use scams involving landscaping and home improvement to rip off unsuspecting consumers during the warmer months.  These scams usually involve substandard work that is paid for up  front, but they sometimes involve burglaries as well.

Batton says solicitors will come to the door offering repair services and ask to enter the home for a drink of water or to use the phone. "That's when the burglary occurs," she says.

Corporal Batton warns residents to be wary of people walking up to your house offering services. "We are encouraging residents to keep an eye out for suspicious people and to keep an eye out for elderly residents because they are being targeted. "

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