New Angles on an Old Trade: Ruse Burglary




The Rip-off Entrepreneurs

Everyone is entrepreneurial these days; even common criminals are getting creative when it comes to gaining entry to your property and ruse burglary is on the rise. Hoping to get a better haul, crafty thieves can study a neighborhood for weeks before they pick their target and strike.

They will look for the obvious and the not so obvious because these thieves will take any random opportunity. These thinking criminals have paved the way for the ruse burglary, where disguises, acting talent and scum intersect.


Are You Being Profiled

OK, so now the bad guys are doing the surveillance! What are they looking for?

The little details; do you leave the garage open when you’re only gone for a short time or leave a window open when you’re doing yard work?

Regular timetables such as when you fetch the children from school or go to the gym, routines you perform repeatedly are gold for a shrewd criminal. With patience, this type of crook can gain thousands of dollars with little fear of getting caught.

They will take note of vulnerable residents such as the elderly or people living alone. They sometimes  follow them home from the grocery store or pharmacy or watch neighborhoods for seniors working in their yard. By picking elderly victims who would not make good witnesses because of impaired vision or memory, crimes like this often go unreported.

Grief is only another opportunity.  Sadly the homes of families attending funerals are sometimes targeted. Local newspapers supply the details of the deceased in obituaries as well as funeral particulars.

Phones help bad guys know if you’re home or not. If your last name is visible on the mailbox, a burglar can find your phone number. Savvy burglars, about to break-in, will phone your number and if no one answers, they know the coast is clear.

Disguises can hide the obvious. Posing as neighbors walking their dog, a couple recently attempted to burgle a wealthy Florida residence. After determining no one was home, they tried to see if anything was unlocked but gave up when they realized the home had security cameras.

The typical ruse burglary often begins with the criminals creating an excuse to enter the victim’s home. Don’t let them inside and be suspicious of an unexpected caller intent on getting you to step outside.


Distraction Burglary

Ruse burglary is distraction burglary; the crooks gain entry into your home under false pretenses. For example, a New Jersey man found a woman at his door sobbing that her cat was lost. She asked him to help her to search for the cat in his yard but when she left 15 minutes later, he discovered several valuables missing from the house.

As the name suggests, distraction burglars usually work in pairs with the aim to divert your attention and con their way into your home to steal valuables. Others may try to appeal to your conscience by saying they are collecting for a cause or they need something like a pen and paper to leave a note for a neighbor. Then there’s the ball that’s landed in your yard – would you let them get it. Another popular ploy, is faking urgency and anxiety, as with the woman and her “missing cat.”

With the criminals getting smarter, we can fight back. Having your home fitted with an up-to-date alarm system is one of the best deterrents to any thief. Just be sure you know who it is giving you a quote. There are documented cases of fake alarm companies going around neighborhoods offering cheap alarm systems. Does this qualify as ruse burglary or just another con?

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