The Township of Washington Police Department wants you to know that there have been approximately a dozen diversion burglaries that have been reported in the county in the past few weeks. According to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, residents should be careful who they allow on their property, with thieves more frequently posing as utility workers.
Who is targeted? An elderly individual or someone who lives alone. Someone who might not question a stranger knocking on their door.
How does it happen? Someone impersonating a utility worker (e.g., PSE&G/Suez Water/FedEx/UPS), a town inspector, or even someone pretending to be a police officer (wearing street clothes). They knock on your door. They talk their way inside, usually a story about a water leak, a problem with your pipes, or some other “urgent” matter. They talk and walk you around your own home to keep you DISTRACTED while their partner in crime slips into a bedroom to grab valuables, cash, whatever is there for the taking.
Tips to follow
Most utility workers wear clearly marked uniforms and carry identification. They also drive marked vehicles. You should never invite any stranger inside your house if you don’t know who they are. You can always have the individual wait outside and contact the utility company to confirm if anyone is out at your address or contact the Police immediately.
If you feel something isn’t right, call the Police Department and we will come to confirm the individuals identity. Due to the recent rise in diversion burglaries, below please find a warning that the Bergen County Prosecutors Office has issued;
The prosecutor’s office said residents should be careful who they allow on their property, with thieves more frequently posing as utility workers. Officials said more than a dozen diversion burglaries have been reported in the county in the past few weeks.
In most of the scenarios, a thief impersonating a utility worker distracts the homeowners while an accomplice enters the home to take what he can.
Authorities said during the crime spree, the diversion burglars have also posed as municipal inspectors, handymen and law enforcement.
Officials said homeowners can protect themselves by taking the following precautions:
- Ask for proper identification.
- Look for vehicles with proper logos.
- Tell the worker that you are going to contact their company and the police department for verification, and have the worker wait outside. If they leave the area, call the police, as they will likely target another home.
If you have any questions, please contact the Township of Washington Police Desk at 201-664-1140.
As always for emergencies please call 9-1-1.