Cops warn of distraction burglars


Police are investigating a burglary that occurred July 28 where the perpetrators entered a residence by posing as water department employees.

A married couple, both age 81, told detectives that they were in their N. Cottage Avenue home at 6 p.m. when they answered a knock at their door. They spoke to a man with a lanyard around his neck who said he was from the water department and needed to check the water pressure in the home’s basement.

Police said the first suspect kept the couple distracted in the basement for approximately 15 minutes while a second suspect entered the home and removed an undisclosed amount of cash. The couple discovered the money missing from a bedroom drawer it had been in the next day, then contacted police and the water department, who said they did not have anyone checking water pressure in the area.

The first suspect was described as a white male, 30 to 40 years of age, 5’10” with an average build and dark hair, wearing a light-colored t-shirt and shorts.

Kenneth Lack, an officer with the NCPD’s public information office, said the incident resembled three others that occurred in Syosset, New Hyde Park and Westbury in late June. In those incidents, a man claiming to be a National Grid employee gained access to homes of seniors by saying he was looking for a gas leak. Lack said police believe seniors are being targeted.

Lack encouraged the public to be vigilant and take videos, photographs or write down license plate numbers of utility vehicles if anything seems suspicious, and to call police. He urged residents to keep an eye out for their elderly neighbors, and if contractors or utility workers are on the property, inquire whether they were expected.

Lack said anyone who receives an unexpected visit from a worker should request identification and not allow them inside.

“Please don’t let them in the house. Talk to them through the closed door, talk to them through an open window,” he said.