‘Despicable’ thief targets OAP

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A ‘despicable’ thief tagged the Luton home of a woman with dementia and removed property over a two week period.

The incident was reported on July 14 at a property in St Margaret’s Avenue after the family of the elderly resident had noticed property had been removed from the house over a two week period.

Over two weeks, jewellery, a purse and finally the flat screen TV were taken.

Detective Inspector Zara Brown, of the Priority Crime Team, based at Luton Police Station, said: “We believe that the person responsible for removing these items from the victim’s home has marked the house with chalk marks to remind them that the home owner is vulnerable and then continued to target the address.

“This type of criminal will target vulnerable people within our communities and will often work with others to dupe their way in to a victim’s home or distract them whilst others commit the burglary.

She added: “Keeping an eye on people in your street, noting down registration numbers of unusual vehicles and reporting any suspicious activity quickly to the police such as chalk marks as shown in the picture attached left on houses can help stop other elderly residents becoming victims.” “I would also like to urge members of the public to always check the identity of all visitors to their homes. Do not let unexpected visitors in to your home at all - no matter how believable their reasons for calling are. Do not open the door until you have checked their identity even if it means asking them to post their information through your letter box and waiting until you have verified their identity.

“If you are unsure contact the police straight away - we will be happy to check anyone’s credentials on your behalf. Any police officers, representatives from local councils or utility companies calling at your home will have identification with them and will be happy for residents to contact their organisation to confirm their identity.

“I would also like to remind family, neighbours and carers of the elderly within our communities that they could also play a crucial role in helping the police combat these criminals and protect the elderly by becoming a Nominated Neighbour.

DI Brown continued: “This type of crime is despicable as those people who commit distraction burglaries target the elderly and vulnerable within our communities. This is why it is important that anyone who has information relating to the identity of the offenders or anyone who has received similar calls to their home or

noticed similar chalk marks appearing on the outside of a house owned by a vulnerable person should speak to the police and together we can stop this kind of crime and protect our communities.”