20 Aug 2014
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Distraction Burglaries Targeting Elderly

A suspect usually approaches a female victim believed to be home alone and asks her to go into the back yard for a seemingly legitimate reason. A second suspect enters through the front door and burglarizes the home, stealing mainly jewelry.

Distraction Burglaries Targeting Elderly Distraction Burglaries Targeting Elderly

Gwinnett Police are currently investigating a series of bold distraction-style burglaries targeting elderly victims -- usually women home alone in the daytime.

Cpl. Jake Smith of the Gwinnett Police Department reported a number of incidents like this have occurred recently in Gwinnett County. Several other metro Atlanta agencies are investigating similar cases, he said.  

Duluth Police Det. Jimmy Purvis recently received a report of a similar incident occurring at a home on Davenport Road in the city limits.

The suspects in these cases target elderly victims, usually women, who they believe are home alone, Smith said. One of the suspects, usually described as a Hispanic or Slavic male of average height and weight, approaches the victim for a seemingly legitimate reason. This suspect is polite and dressed in a manner appropriate to the ruse.

“A common approach has been for the suspect to tell the victim he is building a fence for a neighbor and needs the victim to point out her back property line,” according to Smith. “The suspect who accompanies the victim to the back yard makes contact with a second suspect via Nextel or cell phone. The suspect usually has a brief conversation in a foreign language. While the victim is in the back yard with the first suspect, a second suspect enters the home through the front. The suspects usually take only jewelry.”

These suspects also use other stories to lure their elderly victims into their back of their house or back yard, including that they are employees of a cable or utility company or that they are there to inspect a deck, Smith reported. They have used several vehicles, including a white pickup truck, a black pickup truck, and a white van.

Det. Purvis said that he had received a telephone call from the son an elderly female resident on Davenport Road reporting that a similar incident occurred with his 78-year-old mother involving two white male suspects in a newer black pickup.

“One well-dressed white male approached and offered to clean up the bushes behind her house and asked her to go to the back yard with him. The victim did not leave her house, but walked to the back door,” Purvis said. “The second suspect entered and then was confronted by the victim at which time the suspects quickly left, but said they would return this week. The suspects have not returned.” The suspects did not speak with an accent, but in some of the incidents in the county the suspects did speak with an accent or in a foreign language, he said.

Anyone coming into contact with suspects matching this description or using this method of operation should call 911 immediately. 

To provide information to help investigators call Gwinnett Police at 770-513-5300 or Duluth Police at 770-476-4151.


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