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The original item was published from 8/29/2014 4:56:00 PM to 9/6/2014 12:05:00 AM.

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Police Department

Posted on: August 29, 2014

[ARCHIVED] Distraction Burglary Update

08-29-14 AthertonPD 14-404 sketch - Copy.jpg

On Thursday, 08-28-14 between 1200-1215 pm, a Mesa Ct residence was burglarized. The victims both saw the suspect. One victim spent approximately 15 minutes with the suspect and was able to work with a sketch artist to develop a sketch. The other victim confirmed the sketch was accurate.

The suspect approached the 81 year old female victim at the Sharon Heights Shopping Center shortly before noon. He asked if he could perform some repairs on her vehicle. She declined, but he was persistent. Ultimately, she provided him a card that had her home address.

While she shopped at Safeway, the suspect went to her home. The 83 year old husband answered the doorbell and encountered the suspect who insisted on helping him fix a sewage problem that had contaminated the drinking water. The suspect barged into the home, leaving the front door open. He then moved from sink to sink opening faucets. The suspect drew the victim outside, leaving the home unoccupied for approximately 10 minutes.

While one suspect distracted the homeowner, another suspect entered the home and burglarized the master bedroom. The suspect located jewelry and was able to steal items with a total appraised value in excess of $200,000.

In addition to various gold jewelry items, one item of identifiable property was a 2.7 carat diamond set in a gold band. The victim continues to inventory the losses and the investigation is ongoing.

Distraction burglaries with the same ruse occurred in Burlingame and Hillsborough in January of this year. In both cases, the suspect claimed to be helping clear a water contamination problem and opened faucets after entering the home.

Should you encounter someone in a commercial parking lot offering to do vehicle repairs or other home work, be very cautious. Do not share personal information. Do not let them follow you home to complete the work. If you have valuable jewelry in the home, consider storing it in a safe that is secured to the wall or the floor.

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