Detectives are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to come forward following a distraction burglary in Poole.
The incident took place during the afternoon of Thursday 3 September 2015, when a man knocked on the door of a property in The Old Rope Walk in the Hamworthy area asking for paperwork to be signed for a neighbour. The offender was let into the property by the elderly female owner and while inside he asked to use the toilet. The following evening, the victim, who is partially sighted, discovered cash had been stolen from her purse.
Officers from Bournemouth CID have launched an investigation into the incident. During enquiries, it was established that three other residents in The Old Rope Walk were visited by an unknown man during the early evening on Thursday. One elderly woman found a male intruder sat in a seat in her lounge. When she challenged the man, he claimed he needed her to write her name and address down and attempted to sell her cleaning products. Two male residents also told officers that a man had knocked on their doors trying to sell them a passport. Nothing was stolen during any of these further incidents.
The man described in the subsequent incidents is white, around five feet ten inches tall, aged in his 30s and was carrying a black backpack. It is unknown whether the man seen in the early evening is the same man responsible for the distraction burglary.
Detective Constable Scott Brimicombe, of Bournemouth CID, said, “I am appealing to anyone who saw a man acting suspiciously in The Old Rope Walk area during Thursday afternoon or early evening to please call me urgently.
“This man is targeting vulnerable elderly people in their homes and I would urge anyone who knows who is responsible for this crime to please call Dorset Police.
“All calls will be treated in strict confidence.
“There are a number of steps people can take to avoid becoming a victim of distraction burglary.
“Ensure the back door is locked and put the chain on before opening the door.
“Always ask for the caller’s identification. Shut the door, leaving the caller on the doorstep and phone the number in the phone book, not the one on the card they give you, as this could be an accomplice around the corner – especially if it is a mobile number. A genuine caller will be happy to wait while you do this.
“I would also like to remind people not to store large amounts of money and valuables in one area.
“Do not buy, sell or sign up to any work on the doorstep, no matter how urgent they say the work is. If you are suspicious of the caller’s intentions, tell them to go away and call a family member or neighbour and inform the police on 101. If they won’t leave, then call 999.”