CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) — Police in Coral Gables and Miami are warning residents to think twice before opening the door to strangers.
They say there have been multiple reports of distraction burglaries in recent weeks.
On Tuesday, Coral Gables officers went door-to-door with crime prevention tips to alert residents along Country Club Prado of the burglaries.
“We’re distributing crime prevention tips. Some of your neighbors was a victim,” one officer said as she announced herself.
Police say there have been at least seven cases in Coral Gables and Miami recently, where the bad guys pose as a variety of different workers, like landscapers, maintenance men, and even a pressure wash pitch person.
“They’re coming up and conning their way to get into the house or to get the person to come around to the back door,” Coral Gables Interim Police Chief Ed Hudak said.
Investigators say one man distracted the victims, while another sneaks into the home and steals whatever he can get his hands on.
In one case, a man claimed he needs to test the water for contamination.
In another, the bad guy says he thinks he clipped the victim’s power line while trimming trees.
“These people are preying on our senior citizens. It has to stop. We have to catch them,” Hudak said.
While it’s frightening to know these crimes are happening close to home, neighbors are glad cops are being proactive about preventing future burglaries.
“These guys are doing a great job. Very supportive,” one man said.
“We really just want everybody who is a homeowner to know, if you don’t know who it is, don’t open the door if you’re not expecting somebody,” Hudak explained.
Victim’s have given varying descriptions of the burglars.
According to police, some have been described as white males and others are described as Latin. Their ages and body types also vary.
Victims noted vehicles in a few of the cases, including an older model gray Ford F-150, a light blue Toyota van, and a shiny white work van.
Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.