The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office is issuing this public advisory for situational awareness.
During the last few months, there has been a rise in “Diversion or Distraction” style burglaries occurring throughout Bergen County, targeting the elderly. Residents are advised to be aware of strangers posing as utility workers, trying to gain access into their home to commit theft.
Local police departments are aware of the crime spree and are actively investigating.
It is often difficult for the elderly to determine whether a “diversion burglar” is a legitimate utility employee, since utility companies employees are regularly in the community conducting official business.
During this crime spree, diversion burglars have also posed as:
Utility Workers (Gas, Electric, Water, or Phone Company);
During a diversion burglary attempt, a burglar will try to take the homeowner to another part of the home or outside of the property, while an accomplice enters and burglarizes the home for cash and other valuables.
To reduce your risk of becoming a victim, residents should use caution when they are approached by someone requesting access to their home.
When this scenario occurs, use the following tips:
Ask for proper identification
Look for vehicles with proper logos
Tell the worker that you are going to contact the respective company and the police department for verification, and have them wait outside. (If they leave the area, Call the Police, as they will likely target another home).
If there are any suspicions about a person’s identity, residents should immediately contact their local police department.