Hubbard police warn residents about crooked 'construction' crew - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

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Hubbard police warn residents about crooked 'construction' crew

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Police are advising residents took be on the lookout for a team of thieves that may be using distraction techniques to burglarize homes.

According to a police report, a woman living on Ruth Drive was robbed of $7,000 in cash on Wednesday.  She told police that a man wearing construction vest and hard hat came to her home saying he was working in the area and had to fix her pipes.

"Very convincing, very clean nice looking guy, you would never think that he was like he was," said the victim, who wished to not be identified.

She allowed the man into her home, who went under the sink, turned the water on, and then asked her to come with him into the back yard to help him measure the distance from her garage to a ditch. He told the woman he had to get a pencil, and disappeared inside her home for about ten minutes.

When the man failed to come out, the woman went inside and found the unlocked safe in her bedroom had been cleaned out. She told police that two bank check books and an envelope containing $7,000 was missing.

"More than likely there was somebody else in the house for the 20 minutes that he was back there with her, taking the property out of the house and when that person was done he got alerted some how and knew it was time to go," said Sgt. David Oaks with the Hubbard Police Department.

Two hours later, a resident of Rebecca Avenue told police that a white female with dirty blonde hair came to the door wearing a green construction vest and jeans, saying she needed to measure pipe in the basement. The woman left after spending only a few moments in the basement.  

The resident did not report that anything was missing, but a neighbor told police he saw the  woman in the construction vest walking nearby on Cyrus Avenue, accompanied by a man described as six feet two inches tall, weighing about 200 pounds.

Police searched the area, but were unable to locate anyone. 

Hubbard police characterize the crime as a distraction burglary, where elderly persons are often the targets. The perpetrator seeks to draw a resident out of the house on a pretext. While the resident is occupied, an accomplice enters the home and picks up valuables such as money and jewelry.

To prevent distraction burglary, police advise citizens to be suspicious of anyone who comes to the door under any of these guises:

  • Utility worker
  • Public official
  • Police officer
  • Firefighter
  • Door-to-door salesperson
  • Person asking about a lost pet
  • Lost person asking for directions
  • Person asking about working on the property
  • Surveyor

In the case of someone claiming to be on official business, it's a good idea to ask for identification, but that can be faked. It's a better idea to call the agency and confirm that there are legitimate workers in the area. Be especially suspicious of anyone who wants access to your home. In addition, follow these other practices:

  • Do not leave your purse or wallet out in the open.
  • Keep jewelry and small valuables in a safe.
  • Use jewelry boxes only for costume jewelry.
  • Keep all doors locked. If you believe a caller has a legitimate reason to get you out of the house, pick up your key and lock the house behind you.

If a suspicious incident occurs, report it immediately to prevent others in your area from being victimized. As always if you see something that doesn't seem normal, say something.

If someone comes to your door unexpectedly, or you observe something that just doesn't seem right call the Hubbard Police at 330-534-1133 before letting them in or opening the door. Call 9-1-1 for emergencies.

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