Monterey Park police join in warning residents of ‘distraction burglaries’

MONTEREY PARK — Monterey Park police Wednesday joined other area law enforcement agencies in cautioning residents to watch out for burglars posing as city workers, tree trimmer or utility workers.
Two homes were burglarized this month by crooks posing as city employees, Monterey park police Lt. Carrie Mazelin said in a written statement.
Arcadia and West Covina have issued similar warnings in recent weeks, as an ongoing trend of “distraction burglaries” continues in the San Gabriel Valley.
The most recent Monterey Park burglary took place about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 1800 block of Cielito Avenue, police said.
A woman was doing work in her front yard when she was approached by a Latino man in his late-20s to early-30s, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and wearing a green work jumpsuit with a City of Monterey Park seal stitched onto the front, according to Mazelin.
The man told the woman he represented the city and asked her to join him in the backyard so he could point out trees that needed to be trimmed, the lieutenant said.
Meanwhile, a second burglar apparently ransacked her home and stole items, police said.
Another similar crime took place June 6 in the 200 block of East Riggin Street, Mazelin said.
A woman was sitting on her front porch when a Latino man in his 40s approached her while wearing a gray uniform-style shirt with a logo resembling the city’s seal on it. He was further described by police as about 5 feet 5 inches tall, 135 pounds, clean-shaven and of dark complexion.
Again, the man told the woman he needed to inspect her trees and lured her to the backyard while a second suspect stole items from her home, Mazelin said.
The burglars primarily targeted jewelry and money, police added.
Mazelin reminded residents that “the only reason a city worker will go into a rear yard is if service has been requested by the homeowner.”
All city workers carry photo identification and wear blue or green uniforms, she added.
If someone claiming to be a city employee refuses to show ID or appears suspicious, residents are advised to call 9-1-1 immediately.
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