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86 Year Old Woman Targeted in York Distraction Burglary

Police car

3:34pm 3rd June 2014

York police have issued a warning and appeal for information after an 86-year-old woman was targeted by distraction burglars.

At around 1.20pm on Monday 2 June 2014, a man knocked on the window of the victim’s home in Huntington Road and beckoned her to go outside.

The victim went outside via a side door and spoke to the man who claimed to be offering gardening work. He kept her talking for around five minutes.

When the victim returned to her house, she discovered that her front door was open and her handbag had been moved. She then went upstairs and discovered her bedroom drawers had been searched and another handbag had been moved.

In total, two purses were stolen which contained a small amount of cash and house keys.

Police are appealing to anyone who saw any suspicious activity in Huntington Road and to anyone who believes they have been contacted by the suspects, to get in touch.

Officers have also issued a warning to members of the public, especially elderly residents, to be cautious when cold callers come to their home.

PC Sarah Scott of York Priority Crime Team, said: “Targeting elderly people in this way is deplorable. Such crimes greatly affect victims’ confidence and can have a lasting effect on their health and wellbeing. In this case, the victim was very distressed when she discovered what happened.

“I am appealing to members of the public for their help as we continue to investigate this crime. Whether they recognise the suspect from the description, saw something suspicious in the area, or who believe they have been targeted themselves.

“I am sure members of the public share our desire to bring these offenders to justice and stop them from stealing from any more elderly victims. If you can help in any way, please contact the police without delay.”

The suspect who spoke to the victim is described as white, aged 20 to 25, around 6ft tall and of medium build. He was clean shaven with fair to light brown hair which was longer and wavy on the top. He was wearing a “smart” dark coloured tracksuit and spoke with a local accent.

Anyone who has any information or recognises the man from the description is asked to call North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2 and ask for York CID, or email Yorkcid@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can pass information to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Please quote reference 12140088923 when passing on information about this crime.

Officers are also advising residents to be vigilant , not to answer their door to anyone they are not expecting and to follow our quick guide to help prevent distraction burglaries:

  • If you’re not sure who is at your door, don’t open it!
  • A genuine caller will be happy to wait outside. Phone the company they claim to be from ie. Gas, Electricity, Water, Police. Use the telephone numbers listed in your local directory or provided independently by your service provider. Do not use any telephone numbers provided by the caller, they may be bogus! If you are in any doubt, don’t answer the door.
  • Many utility service providers like gas electricity and water, provide password schemes or hotline numbers for customers to call, to check the identity of callers before opening the door.
  • Don’t keep large quantities of cash at home; put it in the bank or post office where it is safe.
  • Keep doors locked and windows secure at all times. Always keep your door chain on.
  • If somebody asks for your help, needs to make a telephone call, has lost a ball in your garden, needs a drink or request a pen and paper for example, call a friend or neighbour to come and assist. But don’t open your door.
  • If you suspect a bogus caller has visited you, even if you didn’t let them in, call the police straight away. We need to know.



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