CCTV images: Stevenage pensioner, 82, targeted in widespread distraction burglaries
- Credit: Archant
An 82-year-old Stevenage woman has recalled the moment a thief tried to trick his way into her house by claiming he was working for the council.
The man knocked on the door of the pensioner and said “council emergency – we have to switch the water off otherwise there will be a flood”.
She was suspicious and when she asked to see proof of his identity he refused to show her. He then left when she told him she’d check with the council if he was genuine.
Speaking about the incident, one of 35 across the region since August, she said: “I am very fortunate, unlike the others, I did not believe the man’s story and did not allow him entry. I knew when he refused to show me his ID card that he was not genuine and I felt very angry that someone would do such a thing – they target the elderly because they’re more likely to let them in.”
Herts police are re-appealing for information and have released images of people they would like to speak to in connection with the distraction burglaries.
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They believe a team of between three and four offenders are involved.
In the vast majority of cases, the offenders have created a false reason to gain entry to the property to steal, such as investigating a burst pipe, or repairing a water leak.
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The gang have targeted people across the region including Stevenage, Hitchin and Royston in Hertfordshire, as well as areas of Bedfordshire. The victims have been mainly aged in their 80s and 90s, with one aged 94.
In November police released images of three men they want to speak to in connection with the incidents. Today they released more information and a photo of the distinctive vehicle which they believe has been spotted at the scene of some of the crimes.
The vehicle, a three-door silver Audi A3 sport, has a sunroof which is not a common feature on this model. It is believed that a number of cloned number plates have been used on the vehicle during the offences.
Det Insp Ben Wright, from Operation Manhunt which is leading the investigation, said: “We would ask people to look again at these images and please contact us if they can identify these men, or the vehicle pictured. We believe these men, who could be from the Islington area, could greatly assist the investigation.
“With the car in particular, we’d ask people to contact us if they believe they have sold this car to anyone, may have seen any suspicious incidents involving the vehicle, or have seen it parked or abandoned.
“Please do get in touch as soon as possible. Any information, however small it may seem, could prove vital to the investigation.”
Anyone with information should call Herts police non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.