Image taken from surveillance video of one of the suspects dressed like a utility worker In Brooklyn.
Ramapo - Two suspicious incidents in Ramapo last week fit into a pattern of what police call “diversion burglaries,” and Rockland County investigators are checking to see if the crimes are related to others in the region.
“It’s a common type of con or scam,” said Lt. Mark Emma of the Ramapo police. “We’ve seen it in the past.”
Both of the incidents in Rockland occurred Thursday in Montebello.
In the first incident, a village woman told police that a woman came to her door a little after 1:30 p.m. and said that she needed to inspect the homeowner’s property line because a neighbor was putting up a fence.
The woman asked the homeowner to accompany her to the property border. After the homeowner informed the woman t that her daughter was on the way, the woman made a call on a cellphone. She then got into the passenger side of her car, which drove off.
When the homeowner went back inside her house, she saw that numerous items had been stolen. Police are still tallying the value of the missing items.
While investigators were still at the scene of that burglary, a woman who lives nearby called Ramapo police to report that a woman she did not know had knocked on her door.
The woman told the homeowner that she had just moved into the house next door and asked her about the local area code.
The resident got suspicious because she knew that no one on her block had recently moved. She refused to come outside to talk to the woman, closed the door and called police.
By the time police, who were already nearby, got to the home, the woman was gone. They confirmed that no one had recently moved to the block.
“It’s a very suspicious incident,” Emma said.
One of the homeowners told police that the woman was white, with a thin build, dark hair and wore a knitted hat, red jacket, and rain boots with colorful print.
She described the vehicle as a black van or sport utility type vehicle without a front license plate.
Similar scams have been reported in Nassau County and in New Jersey and New York City, police said.
In the past week, two Brooklyn women were victims of similar cons by a male and female pair of thieves dressed as utility workers.
In one case in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, a woman’s cash and jewelry were stolen while another thief pretended to check her utility meter.
Just days later, another woman in the same neighborhood was victimized by the same scam: One thief asked to inspect her electrical work, while the other stole jewelry and cash.
Emma doesn’t know if the cases are related to the Montebello crime.
But he urges caution.
“A legitimate zoning officer or utility worker has ID,” Emma said. “If someone doesn’t show ID, close the door.”
He urges residents to call 911 to report such incidents.
“We never fault anyone for calling us on something like this,” he said.