Officials Friday cautioned elderly San Gabriel Valley residents of an apparent crew of crooks targeting senior citizens in residential burglaries by posing as city or utility workers this week.
Three such crimes have been reported in Walnut and Diamond Bar since Wednesday, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
The criminal appeared to be targeting, “unsuspecting elderly homeowners,” according to the statement. All three victims this week were over the age of 70.
To combat the problem, sheriff’s Lt. Steve Katz advised residents, particularly the elderly, to be cautious when it comes to strangers knocking at the door.
“If it doesn’t seem right, then give us a call,” the lieutenant said.
If a resident has any concerns regarding a person at their door, Katz said it’s a good idea to keep the door locked until deputies arrive to verify the person’s identity.
The break-ins took place Wednesday in the 600 block of Junewood Place in Diamond Bar and the 400 block of Vista Rambla in Walnut, as well as Thursday in the 600 block of Looking Glass Drive in Diamond Bar, officials said.
In the Junewood Place incident, three men knocked on a man’s door and told him they were sub-contractors hired by the city to do some work, officials said. They all wore green shirts with a tree logo on the front.
One of the men kept the homeowner occupied near the property line while the other two entered the home through an unlocked garage door, officials said. But the three fled empty-handed after being confronted in the home by the elderly resident’s son.
Also Wednesday, a similar incident took place in the 400 block of Vista Rambla in Walnut, according to sheriff’s investigators.
In that incident, according to the statement, three men claiming to be city workers knocked at the man’s door and began talking to him about nearby power lines and future construction.
While talking with one of the men in his backyard, the victim noticed the other two men leaving his house and getting into white, 4-door vehicle, authorities said. The following day, the resident noticed that watches and jewelry was missing from his home.
A woman in the 600 block of Looking Glass Drive in Diamond Bar also became a victim of burglary Thursday after a similar con.
A man showed up at her front door and told her that her home’s water was contaminated, the sheriff’s statement said. The woman allowed the man to her kitchen faucet, where the intruder asked her to watch the water until its color changed.
The woman soon spotted the man leaving her home and getting into a dark blue sedan being driven by a second man, officials said. Her bedroom had been ransacked and jewelry stolen.
The burglars have been described so far only as three Latino men between 35 and 40 years old.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the sheriff’s Walnut-Diamond Bar Station at 909-595-2264.