Anaheim police on Tuesday warned of a burglary scheme in which thieves knock on an older resident’s front door, then distracting them so that they’re unaware someone else enters the home.
In the scam, one person poses as a new neighbor or utility worker to lure the victim away from their home, while a second then goes inside and burglarizes the residence, Anaheim police said in a news release.
One 70-year-old victim, who asked to be identified only as Brent, told KTLA a woman knocked on his front door Sept. 9 in a neighborhood near Sunkist and South streets. He noticed a van parked in the driveway, and it looked like she was alone.
“She told me that her grandparents had purchased the house behind me, and I said, ‘Well, there’s no house behind me,’” he said.
The woman then talked him into going into his backyard to explain the issue, Brent said. He says he locked his front door before doing so, but a back door was unlocked — and the woman kept trying to draw him further into the yard to prevent him from looking over there.
When he got uncomfortable and began walking back toward his house, the woman rushed to the driveway where the van was waiting. She got into the passenger side, which is when he noticed she wasn’t alone, Brent said.
He says he then went through the back door to check on his dog and noticed items strewn across the bedroom floor.
“That’s when it hit me. It shocked me, I thought, ‘Wow, they just scammed me,’” Brent said.
The burglars have been targeting several parts of the city, officials said.
Police describe the suspects as a man in his 40s, either white or Latino, and a Latina in her 30s.
Two vehicles have been associated with the crimes: a silver or light-blue BMW X3 SUV and a gold or tan Dodge Caravan from 2008-2014. It’s possible the same people are using two different cars or it’s two different burglary crews, investigators said.
Anyone with information can contact Detective Ken Johnson at 714-765-1940, or submit a tip anonymously via 855-847-6227.