By GLORIA PLEVA KACIK
Recently, North Royalton police responded to a Patricia Drive residence where there was a report of a distraction burglary. Cash and jewelry were stolen when two white males distracted the older couple. The man was escorted to the back yard under to guise of reviewing a “water problem.” Meanwhile, the woman was confronted by the other male, who entered through the front door. He told her that he needed to go into the bathroom in the back to turn on the water. He then proceeded to move into another area of the house, where the theft took place. The males communicated with each other with walkie talkies. A white, older model SUV was seen in the driveway.
This is not the first time that distraction burglaries have taken place in North Royalton. Last August, a State Road resident was almost the victim. A woman came to his house who said that his neighbors commissioned her to trim tall trees in the area. Both neighbors were away on vacation. The homeowner sensed that something wasn’t right and asked for a business card. As he came back into the house, he saw an intruder going down the steps. He yelled and they took off.
That couple is said to have also hit Parma, Brecksville, Parma Heights and Willoughby in August. One Parma Heights woman lost about $200. These types of crimes, distraction crimes, have been around for quite a while, according to Police Chief John Elek. It works by having the resident’s attention diverted while an accomplice sneaks into the home or business, grabs items, then quickly leaves. Senior citizens are often targets of this crime. North Royalton Detective David Loeding said they can be posing as anyone, from a city utility worker, landscaper, home improver or roofer.
Police recommend residents to ask for correct identification of anyone coming to your door. Look for a uniform and/or a marked vehicle. If someone shows up at your door that you don’t trust, don’t open the door and call the police. “You can always call 911 if you are unsure or nervous,” said North Royalton Safety Director, Bruce Campbell. “I would really advise that you don’t open that door to anyone you don’t know, especially if you didn’t order service.”