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Mar 20

How to Detect and not Fall for Distraction Burglaries

Posted on March 20, 2019 at 12:49 PM by Deputy Aaron Scheller

A burglary of your home is bad enough, but what if your home when it occurs and you don’t even know it’s happening. No, I’m not talking about overpaying for cable services, which is a crime in itself. I’m referring to a trend that appears to be making a comeback - distraction burglaries. This type of crime occurs when an individual distracts a homeowner under a false pretense while someone goes inside the home to steal valuables.


Let me give you some recent examples of distraction type of burglaries that were shared by other law enforcement agencies:

Example No. 1
A male knocked on a door and identifies himself as an employee of the water company. He told the homeowner he was conducting a water test of the homes in the area. During the initial questioning, he asked if there were any other family members at home who wanted to learn the current water issues. Post questioning, the male requested the homeowner walk to the back of the residence to turn on the outside faucet. He told the homeowner to watch the water while he went to the front to place dye in the water, and to notify him when the water began running blue. The homeowner did as told, and when nothing happened for several minutes she returned to find the “water company employee” was gone. Later that day, she discovered she was missing expensive jewelry items she kept at home.

Example No. 2
A male and female knocked on a door and when the homeowner answered, they explained they were providing services in the area. They asked if there was anyone else in the house who might want to hear about their services. While talking with the homeowner, a third individual gained access to the house through a back door, and once inside stole various valuables.


Whether it is a uniformed employee, or someone who appears to want to have a conversation while standing on your front porch, it’s important to take precautionary measures. First, if someone wants to do work for you they won’t be in a hurry. Ask to see identification and business card or flyer, and let them know you will get back to them at a later date, or else ask them to wait while you take a moment to take care of something (hang up a call, turn off the stove, etc.). By going back inside your home, locking your door, and leaving the “utility representative” or “salesperson outside, you can make sure your house is properly secured and you can verify the legitimacy of their visit or services.


If at any point during your interaction with the individual(s) at your front door you feel as if they are being untruthful or trying to scam you, simply decline their services by saying “No, thank you” and closing your door. If you suspect the individuals are impersonating an employee creating a ruse to commit a crime, immediately call the Walnut-Diamond Bar Sheriff’s Station at (909) 595-2264.

Also, I recommend you check out the latest public safety leaflet posted on the City website for additional tips on how to recognize and report suspicious activities.

As always, thanks for subscribing to Safety Speak. If you have any public safety-related questions or concerns you want to share with the City or the Diamond Bar-Walnut Sheriff's Department, or if you have suggestions for topics to cover in this blog, be sure to let me know using the Ask a Deputy feature.