Bedfordshire Police is appealing for witnesses following a distraction burglary in Park Street, Luton, on Thursday, June 18.
At approximately 2.55pm, an elderly woman answered her door to a man who claimed to be from the “water board”. He then distracted the victim and two other offenders came into the property.
When the victim realised that two further offenders were also in her home and searching through her belongings, she challenged them and asked them to leave.
All three offenders left the property, then the victim realised her handbag was missing. The bag contained personal items, keys and a black purse with a quantity of cash.
The first offender is described as white man in his 50s, with short hair and short white beard. At the time of the offence he was wearing dark jeans and a black face mask.
The other two offenders are described as men in their 20s and both were wearing a black face mask.
Detective Constable Jason Wheeler, who is investigating, said: “This brazen offence against a vulnerable lady happened in the daytime, and the street would have been fairly busy at this time in the afternoon.
“I would urge anyone who knows the identity of the men, or anyone who may have seen or heard any suspicious activity in the area that afternoon to contact the police.
“If anybody else had a stranger knock on their door in this area around this time, I would also like to hear from you, along with anyone who may have located any of the victim’s belongings.
“I would encourage people with elderly neighbours, friends or relatives to remind them about staying vigilant around who they invite into their homes.
“In current times, no matter how urgent they seem, nobody should accept any unsolicited visitors without checking the person’s credentials before letting them into your home.”
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the police on 101, or visit the online reporting centre, quoting reference number 40/32672/20.
Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111.
Bedfordshire Police are asking for your support in encouraging your vulnerable relatives, friends or neighbours to take extra care when answering the door to people they do not know.
Please remind others of the advice below:
- Where possible, only answer the door if you know a member of your family, a friend, a carer or a pre-arranged tradesperson is visiting.
- If you have an unexpected caller, use a door chain when answering the door, or speak to them through a window.
- Ensure any other doors to the property are locked before you answer the front door.
- If unsure of the visitor’s identity, always ask for their ID first and telephone the company they are purporting to be from. Use the telephone number listed in your local directory or provided independently by your service provider.
- Many service providers, when they are making the appointment with you, are happy to arrange for their representative to use a password of your choosing.
- Never agree to any work that the caller claims needs to be done to your home. It is okay to say NO and turn the person away.
- If you are able, report the incident to the police on 101 with as much detail as you can provide.
- Even if the person at your door gives you a convincing story as to why they need to enter your house, if you were not expecting them, turn them away immediately and report it to the police on 101.