Police are keeping an open mind over links between two burglars from fake callers claiming to be from the water council.
An elderly woman had cash and jewelery stolen after two men knocked on her door in Rothersthorpe Road, Northampton, last Tuesday (November 9).
Northamptonshire Police are warning residents, especially those living alone, to be extra careful about answering the door to unannounced callers and not to let strangers through the door without thoroughly checking that they are who they say they are.
Detectives have issued an appeal to everyone who was in the Rothersthorpe Road area around noon. 5pm on Tuesday, or who may have doorbell, CCTV or dashcam footage capturing two people behaving suspiciously around 5pm. 17.00 on the day of the incident.
They are also particularly keen on tracing a distinctive necklace, which was among the stolen features and has enormous sentimental value to the victim.
A Northamptonshire police spokesman said: “The necklace is described as a gold chain with a medal pendant that is smaller than a pence coin engraved with either the homeowner’s mother’s name or her initials, EB.
“The pendant is one of four gold medals presented to the homeowner’s mother between 1924 and 1930 for gymnastics and is of great sentimental value to the occupant.”
“We would like to hear from anyone who may have been offered the necklace for sale in exceptional circumstances. Anyone with information on this burglary please call Northamptonshire Police on 101 using incident number 21000666003.”
Fake callers, who usually work in teams, often use allegations to investigate a gas or water leak, seek help leaving a note for a neighbor, or even ask for a drink of water to trick their way into the home.
Once inside, one villain distracts the homeowner while the other searches for items to steal.
Police, utilities and councils provide a range of tips on how to protect yourself from such distractions. These include:
• Make sure you can see who is standing by the door before answering it. If possible, place a spy hole to identify callers or talk to them through an adjacent window
• Do not feel pressured to open the door. Do not feel that you are rude, real calls will not mind it
• Do not let people you do not know enter your home even if they say they need help. If more than one person is at the door, one can try to keep you talking while the other slips away to see what they can steal
Set passwords with your utilities, genuine callers must provide this password for you. Also, always ask to see an ID card
• Do not use telephone numbers on ID cards if the person is not a genuine ID, nor is the telephone number. Get numbers directly from the phonebook, or make a list of your important numbers and keep them close to the phone
• If you’re still not sure that a caller is who they say they are, turn them away. Legitimate companies and calls will not mind