DENVER (CBS4) – Police are reporting a spike in crimes against Denver’s elderly and they would like the public’s help locating a burglar who targeted an 85-year-old woman.
Sonny Jackson with Denver police said recently officers investigated a case in which an 85-year-old woman was lured out of her house by the suspect to the alley saying her power lines were damaged.
Police didn’t say what was taken but when for elderly people on a fixed income it really doesn’t matter.
“She goes out in the backyard with them to look at her power lines. They say. ‘Let’s get something out of our truck.’ She waits on them, comes to find out they burglarized their home,” Jackson said. “There’s someone out there without a conscious that’s actually preying on our elderly and we can’t have that. We need to look out for each other.”
Denver police are concerned because they’ve seem several similar instances in the past few weeks of criminals picking on a generation who made a deal with a handshake and trusted their neighbors.
“Stay in your home, you are safe in your home. Do not let anyone in your home,” Amy Nofziger with the AARP said.
Nofziger is a program manager with AARP. She says don’t be afraid to confront anyone who comes to the door. Those who absolutely have to go out should make themselves aware of their surroundings.
“Don’t leave house, back door unlocked, because they could be working with a partner and they could go around back and steal from you,” Nofziger said.
Police say the elderly can’t be afraid to be rude to door knockers.
“As citizens we should be concerned about our elderly because they are so easily victimized,” Jackson said.
Police say to ask for identification and to call their company to make sure they check out. They also recommend looking the company’s phone number up and not calling a number the person supplies because it could be a false number.
The suspect in the latest burglary is described as a white or Hispanic man in his late 30s with black hair, square face, and tattoos of two lips on both sides of neck.
Anyone with information is asked to call Denver police at (720) 913-2000. Remain anonymous and call Crime Stoppers at (720) 913-STOP (7867). Text to CRIMES (274637) then title DMCS and enter the message or send an e-mail to metro-denvercrimestoppers.com.
• Don’t be afraid to be rude. You are not obligated to open the door for anyone you don’t know.
• Don’t open the door to anyone before you’ve checked who it is – look out of the window or use a spy hole in your door.
• If you open the door, keep the chain on while you find out who is calling and what they want.
• If you’re not expecting someone and you don’t know them, don’t let them into your home, no matter what they say to you. If a caller is legitimate they will understand your concerns.
• If someone claims to be from a company, such as a gas or electricity provider, always double check their identity – see the section below for tips on how to do that properly
• If someone is asking for a favor, such as to use your bathroom, borrow a pen or retrieve a ball, don’t let them in. Instead direct them to a shop, office or public place.
• It’s only natural to want to help someone, but sadly that’s one of the techniques often used by distraction burglars.
• If you have any concerns about someone who has called at your door, call police immediately.
• If you have a chance try to note what they look like and any vehicle they have with them, so police can investigate.