Efits Released as Police Investigate Distraction Burglaries in Stroud Area
Thursday August 16, 2012
Police officers are currently examining whether three distraction burglaries in the Stroud area are connected and are asking the public to call in if they recognise the man, or men, in efits produced following the crimes.
The most recent incident (Incident number 357 of August 4) happened between 1pm and 2.30pm on Saturday August 4 when an 82-year-old woman living in Cashes Green found a man in her home. He claimed he was looking for something before leaving the address. A short while later the woman discovered that a shopping bag, £300 in cash and jewellery had been stolen.
The man was described as white, around 5ft 6” tall and of broad build. He was wearing blue jeans and a blue top and was thought to be around 18 or 19-years-old.
Another incident (Incident number 383 of July 8) happened between 5.10pm and 5.50pm on Sunday July 8 at a home in Kings Stanley. A 91-year-old woman was in her home when a man walked in through an insecure rear door. He talked to her about heating and pressure gauges before leaving the house and walking out of the area.
He was described as white, around 5ft 11” tall and was wearing a ‘smart’ white shirt and trousers.
Police believe these incidents may be linked and that they could be connected to the report of a burglary in the Paganhill Estate in Stroud at the beginning of the year.
A man visited the home of a 76-year-old woman claiming that he was from the water board, that there had been an accident and he needed to check the water supply in the home. The householder, rightly, refused the man entry to her home and called the police.
He was described as white, around 5ft 10” tall and of medium build. He was wearing a grey ‘beanie’ hat, grey anorak and black shoes.
Police are asking anyone with any information about these incidents, or who recognises the efits, to contact them on 101 quoting the incident number.
Crime Prevention Officer for the county, Paul Francis, said: “This goes to show these people will try anything to trick their way into victim’s homes. These kinds of burglaries are always so despicable because the offenders deliberately target the most vulnerable members of society.
“Our officers are doing all they can to locate the offenders but I would urge members of the public to take extra care of their elderly neighbours simply by watching out for anyone suspicious loitering around or perhaps challenging someone you don’t recognise calling at an elderly neighbour’s house.
“Working together we can ensure vulnerable members of our community are safe and those who prey on them are locked up.”
The following simple steps will help reduce the possibility of being targeted by bogus callers:
- If someone knocks on your door check who it is by looking through a window or peep hole.
- If it is not someone you know or trust or a business caller who has made a pre-arranged appointment, do not open the door.
- This advice applies whatever uniform the caller appears to be wearing or ID card they are carrying and however urgent their business claims to be.
- Tell unexpected callers to leave and come back later at an agreed time when you can have someone with you.
- In the meantime, check their credentials by calling the organisation they claim to represent. Do so by looking up the number in the phone book rather than relying on the one on their card as this could simply put you through to an accomplice of a potential offender.
- Genuine staff from utility companies won’t mind waiting while you do this or will call back later.
- Watch if the caller appears to be in a hurry and never feel pressured or embarrassed into letting someone in.
- The golden rule is ‘if in doubt, keep them out’.
Information can also be given anonymously by contacting the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org and you may receive a reward if someone is arrested and charged.