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Crime Watch : Warm Weather and Transient Criminals

For Immediate Release: Monday, May 14, 2012

Warm weather is a time when transient criminals come to this region and an increase in the crimes listed below can occur. The types

of crimes committed and tactics employed by these individuals are varied, but all methods have been seen in the county over the past few years.



Often, these types of crimes are not reported. Some victims feel embarrassed and don’t want to call police. Some people do not realize they have been victimized until a later date and then cannot determine how or when they were victimized. MCPD urges you to read about these crimes and call police if you see something suspicious in your neighborhood.



WHO ARE TRANSIENT SUSPECTS?



  • Subjects travel in larger groups and often include women and small children. Along the east coast, groups travel along interstate highways.

RESIDENTIAL BURGLARIES OR THEFTS



  • Transient suspects will burglarize a home when the victim is working in the yard or has left the home to take a walk.
  • These criminals will gain access to the home through an unlocked door and often involve creating a “ruse” to gain access to the home.
  • If the suspect is encountered by the victim, the suspect will provide some explanation as to why he/she is in the home (such as looking for a lost dog, or attempting to locate a house for sale) while the suspect prepares to flee.
  • On April 27, a resident doing yard work on Heatherhill Road in Bethesda found two females near her garage. When the resident approached the females, they stated that they were staying in the area and looking for their lost cat but could not provide any information on their address. When the victim went inside to call the police, the females left. While there is no way to know the intent of these women, it is possible that these females were attempting to burglarize the residence.

HOME IMPROVEMENT SCAMS



  • The suspects will often drive a pick-up truck or van that contains supplies and/or equipment.
  • The suspects will offer to apply sealant or resurface a driveway or repair a roof. The suspects will provide the consumer with a price quote, but then charge additional fees for materials or additional work that the suspects state is necessary. Suspects intimidate victims to receive the additional funds and will cash checks quickly, before victims realize they have been deceived.

Remember, a citizen can always verify a business’ license status by calling the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection at 240-777-3636.



TREE TRIMMERS



  • These scam suspects will offer their services to homeowners typically after a storm or high winds.
  • These suspects will advise that some other service needs to be performed like roof repair or a cracked chimney.
  • These suspects use tactics to receive more money; they collect deposits and never perform the work, return to the home to collect excessive payments, or claim they lost a check and then cash both checks.

Remember, a citizen can always verify a business’ license status by calling the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection at 240-777-3636.



UTILITY SCAM



  • Males will pose as utility workers and claim to be working at a neighbor’s home. While the resident is talking with the suspect, a second suspect will enter the home undetected to search for valuables.
  • Another ploy used is to claim the victim was billed too much for work done. The suspect will provide the resident with money but state that some type of change is needed. While the victim is obtaining change, another suspect enters the home to steal items or steal additional money. Sometimes, these suspects provide victims with a phony identification card.

Remember, a citizen can always call a utility company and verify that a legitimate employee is at the residence.



THEFT IN STORES



  • Suspects will take purses or wallets left unattended by a victim and quickly use credit cards. Restaurants (a purse left hanging on a chair) or grocery stores (purse left in cart) are perfect places to find victims.


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Release ID: 12-072
Media Contact: mcpnews 
Categories: blog