Ruse Burglary with Offenders Posing as Water Employees Use Coronavirus Fraud to Enter 2 Homes in Arlington Heights

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The Arlington Heights Police Department confirmed on June 23, 2020 that up to two weeks ago there have been two reports of ruse burglaries with offenders posing as water department employees fraudulently and absurdly stating they were testing the water supply for Coronavirus COVID-19.

There was an unconfirmed report in early June 2020 that at least one ruse burglary occurred in a northeast neighborhood of Arlington Heights near Palatine Road and Schoenbeck Road. Unconfirmed details described three males posed as village workers, while a white sedan was parked on the victim’s driveway about 2-3 p.m.

The Arlington Heights Police Department confirmed that the police department received two reports of ruse burglaries over the past two weeks. No physical descriptions of the suspects or vehicle descriptions were initially available from the Arlington Heights Police Department.

The Arlington Heights Police Department generally explained that Ruse Burglaries are committed by offenders traveling in pairs. One offender uses a ‘ruse’ to distract the victim, while the other offender enters the home to search for and steal cash, jewelry and other items. Ruse burglaries, by definition, occur when victims are physically present at the home and distracted by a ‘ruse.’

The two recent cases in Arlington Heights involved offenders posing as local water department employees. The offenders informed the homeowners they needed to test their water supply for COVID-19. While the homeowner was distracted by the ‘ruse’, a second offender made entry into the homes and stole the homeowners’ property.

“The Village of Arlington Heights Public Works Department is not testing water supplies for COVID-19”

— Arlington Heights Police Department

The Arlington Heights Police Department described that in general offenders use many other story lines including …

• Offering to repair gutters, fences or tree trimming and landscaping

• Blacktop, seal-coating, or driveway repair

• Inquiries about the homeowner’s water supply or water pressure

• Informing the homeowner there is an electrical problem outside of the home

• Repairing unilock pavers

• False statements about problems with the neighbor’s house

• Questions about homeowner’s property lines

• Inquiries about homes for sale in the neighborhood Safety

Arlington Heights Police Department Provide the Following Tips:

• Do not allow anyone in your home unless you know them personally or it is a scheduled appointment.

• If a solicitor comes to your residence, take notice of the vehicle they are driving (make, model, color, type) as well as their attire and physical characteristics.

• If you choose to speak with a solicitor or utility worker, never leave your front door unlocked or unattended.

• A legitimate utility or government worker will never object if you ask for ID. You may verify with the utility company or local government agency if the individual was sent to your residence.

• Share these tips with family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. If you feel you were the victim of a ruse burglary or if you have seen suspicious vehicles and/or subjects approaching elderly neighbors, please call 911 to report these incidents to the Arlington Heights Police Department. Please be ready to provide the offender’s vehicle description.

Especially with Coronavirus precautions in effect, residents are best advised to avoid answering the door for solicitors. Be advised it is not difficult for offenders to design authentic-looking identification. Be especially cautious of visitors that have authentic identification, but have not arrived with official vehicles, such as a ComEd truck, a Nicor gas utility truck, or a public works utility truck.



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