Two men who tricked their way into the home of an 85-year-old woman in Old Town on Monday (7 July) fled empty-handed after she discovered their attempt to steal her personal safe.
One man had knocked at her door and asked for paper on which to write a note for an absent neighbour. She took him into her kitchen but while there heard a noise and saw her front door was open.
She then saw a second man trying to hide in her lounge, whereupon both men made their excuses and left. The householder then saw that her safe had been placed inside a cardboard box in her bedroom. Fortunately nothing had been taken.
Both suspects were seen to leave in a silver Vauxhall Astra car. The first was a white man in his late 40s/early 50s, 5’6”, of large build and with short, dark hair. He was wearing a black-and-white hooped jumper and grey trousers.
The second suspect was another white man, in his late 30s, 5’ 5”, of stocky build and white short cropped dark fair hair. He was wearing a yellow polo shirt and light-coloured jeans.
Anyone who saw the men, their car or noticed anything else suspicious is asked to phone Sussex Police on 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, quoting serial 966 of 07/7. Alternatively they can call the independent charity Crimestoppers free and anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Police advice to householders to prevent this sort of incident includes:
- If you’re not sure who is at your door, don’t open it. Check the identity of the caller by calling the company they are purporting to be from i.e. police, council or gas, electricity and water companies.
- 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, as they may be bogus
- Many utility service providers like gas, electricity and water, provide password schemes for customers, sign up to these. When unannounced callers claiming to be from these utility providers call at your door they should know the password if they are genuine
- Water, gas and electricity ‘boards’ no longer exist: It is an obsolete phrase used only by bogus callers.
- Don’t keep large quantities of cash at home; put it in the bank where it is safe.
- Keep doors locked and windows secure at all times, even if only in the garden.
- Ensure that if you do let somebody into your home, that you close the door behind them. Distraction burglars often work in teams, where one will distract you whilst others sneak in through the insecure door.
- If somebody asks for your help (for example, needs to make a telephone call, has lost a ball in your garden, needs a drink or pen and paper) refer them to a neighbour, assist them from behind a closed door or call a friend or neighbour to come and help.
- If you suspect a bogus caller is at your door call the police immediately.