22 Aug 2014
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Ruse Burglars Strike on 71st Street

Police said a ruse burglar stole from the home of a local senior citizen last month by distracting her in her backyard. She gave officers a description of the man after she realized someone had ransacked her home.

Ruse Burglars Strike on 71st Street

An elderly woman called the cops last month after she realized something didn't add up regarding a visitor she'd gotten earlier that day who said he wanted to repair a fence in her backyard.

The 84-year-old realized she was right when she found jewelry missing from her home in the 17200 block of South 71st Avenue in . The woman was approached by a man around 4 p.m. Feb. 22 at her home, she told .

She described him as tall, heavyset and in his mid 40s. The man was also wearing a hat, she said, and introduced himself as "John Lopez." He told her he bought the house right behind hers for his parents, according to the report.

"The subject stated that he needed to fix the fence and he asked if he could go into her yard," the report said. "(The victim) stated that she and the male went out to her backyard … (where) they stayed outside for approximately 15 minutes talking."

The victim said that when the man's cell phone buzzed, he looked down at it and left abruptly, saying he'd return in an hour and a half. He got into the passenger side of a tan-colored van.

"(The woman) stated she called the previous owner (of the neighboring home) who related that she did not believe that the male subject had bought the house," the report said. 

The victim found several dresser and closet doors ajar in her home, and a light on in the basement. Several rings and two watches were missing, the woman said. She was unable to give police a complete list of stolen items at the time of the report. 

Several other ruse burglaries have been reported to during the past year.

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