DARIEN, Conn. -- Two people posing as water company employees stole cash and valuables from an elderly Ledge Road resident Thursday, Darien police said.
At about 3 p.m., a man approached the resident and said that he was an employee of the water company and that a water leak had been detected at her house, police said.
The woman was asked to check on conditions in several parts of her house while the worker accompanied her, police said. While this was happening, a second person entered the house and stole cash and valuables from an upstairs bedroom, police said.
The initial suspect remained on the phone during the inspection and was most likely providing signals to his accomplice, police said.
The incident is under investigation, but police are warning residents to be on the lookout for this type of crime. Elderly residents are often the targets of such crimes, but not always, police said. In some cases, an accomplice may enter the house at one door while the victim is occupied at another door. Police said in these instances the perpetrators may also take papers with the intent of committing identity theft.
Police advise residents to be suspicious of anyone who comes to their door claiming to be a utility worker, public official, door-to-door salesperson, a person asking about a lost pet, someone asking for directions, someone asking about working on the property, or a surveyor. In the case of someone claiming to be on official business, residents should ask to see identification. Police said identification can be faked, so it is a better idea to call the agency and confirm that there are legitimate workers in the area.
Residents should be especially suspicious of anyone who wants access to their homes, police said. Purses and wallets should not be left in the open, and jewelry and small valuables should be kept in a safe. Jewelry boxes should only be used for costume jewelry. Residents should keep all doors locked, and if they believe a caller has a legitimate reason to get them out of the house, they should take their key and lock the house behind them.
Police said elderly individuals are targeted for these types of crimes because they are more likely to live alone. They are often conscientious people who want to be cooperative. They may need help maintaining their property, and might be especially vulnerable to those wanting to do yard work, trim trees, maintain fences or do other manual labor.
If a suspicious incident occurs, contact the Darien Police Department immediately in order to prevent similar incidents. Police said victims should not let their embarrassment about falling for a scheme keep them from reporting crimes. Residents should also not let their guard down if the person knocking on the door is female or has children in town, as police said this is another strategy used to get residents to relax their guard.
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