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‘Distraction’ con happening in Sarasota, police warn

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 9:20 AM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Detectives are warning residents about a pair of would-be burglars working in Sarasota.

Sarasota Police Department investigators are looking into a suspicious incident that happened earlier this week in the 300 block of West Royal Flamingo Drive. Detectives believe the incident was a commonly known distraction attempt.

On May 17, at about 4:30 p.m., a homeowner said a man wearing a baseball cap, mask, white long-sleeved shirt, and carrying a walkie-talkie, knocked on the front door and wanted to talk about measurements he needed to take in regards to the improvement of his neighbor’s fence. The homeowner walked out of his house and followed the person to the rear of his property. The homeowner said the man was speaking into his walkie-talkie as he walked along the property.

Less than two minutes later, a second man, wearing a large floppy hat, mask, sunglasses and gloves, walked up to the front door, knocked, and walked into the house through an unlocked front door. He was confronted by the homeowner’s wife. He immediately walked back out the front door and said they needed to leave immediately for another job. Both men left in a white Chevy Tahoe with an Uber sign.

The homeowner spoke with his neighbors who said they were out of town and did not request any fence upgrade or improvement. Neither man was wearing a uniform suggesting they were a legitimate fencing contract or installer. Nothing was stolen from the home.

If you’re expecting a worker to come into your home, Sarasota Police officers suggest the following crime prevention tips to protect you, your family, and your personal belongings:

  • Make sure workers have proper identification and are driving a marked vehicle.
  • If there is no reason for a worker to come into your home, do not let them in.
  • Always secure and lock all doors and windows, even when you’re home.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call Sergeant Charlie Riffe at 941-263-6089 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS or online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com

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