It’s becoming a familiar story—people going door-to-door, participating in a scam in which they say they’re with an organization to gain access to your property.
are investigating one of these situations, which occurred Thursday morning and resulted in the burglary of a home in the 1300 block of Illinois Avenue.
Shortly after 10 a.m. on Thursday, an elderly couple called Dormont police to report their home had been burglarized.
The couple told police a man they described as being Mexican-American came to their home and said he was a property assessment officer from Allegheny County. The man told police the suspect took him to the back of the home to talk about his car, and left after a discussion that lasted about 15 minutes.
When the man went back inside his home, he discovered that money and jewelry—including several of his wife’s rings—had been stolen.
Three hours later, a similar incident was reported in Swissvale and the same description of the suspect was given. In this instance, the suspect told a homeowner he was with the water company.
A similar incident was reported in Richland Township in October when a large amount of cash was taken from an 85-year-old woman who let a man into her Richland Avenue home under the pretense of preparing to seal her driveway.
When the woman took the man to her basement to get a bucket of hot water that he requested, two other men entered the house and stole the cash from her, Chief T. Robert Amann said.
"They work really fast and they're smooth," Amann said in October. "These types of scams happen everywhere, but this is the first report we've had in our four communities recently."
Northern Regional Police Department covers the communities of Pine, Richland, Marshall and Bradford Woods.
Don Kelly of the Dormont police said Thursday's incident is the only one reported in Dormont so far, although earlier in the week, two and soliciting cash funds.
“There actually will be teams of gypsy-type people that will go through the area,” Kelly said. “They’ll drift through, commit these types of crimes and then move on to a completely different area."
Kelly said in these cases, it’s often possible that the suspects do not live in the area. At least two people are involved in the Dormont and Swissvale robberies, he said. Police are investigating the incidents.
Kelly said that if someone comes to a home with similar claims, residents should ask for credentials.
“Anyone who’s legitimate will almost always have their credentials displayed,” Kelly said. “If you’re uncertain, call the police and ask the police to ID the persons.”