Sheriff: Ruse burglaries on rise in Lake County

Officials offer tips on how to recognize those who seek to steal valuables

WAUKEGAN – Northern Illinois tends to see an increase in ruse burglaries during the summer months. Ruse burglars already have been striking in Lake County and surrounding areas, according to a news release from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

A ruse burglary is a distraction technique used to lure homeowners outside of their home. After the homeowner is outside the home and distracted by one individual, another enters the home typically targeting items to steal, such as cash, jewelry and other items of value.

Suspects will use many excuses to lure homeowners outside the residence, including claims of being subcontracted by local government, ploys of a broken pipe, schemes for landscaping services such as tree trimming, fence line questions and so forth.

In addition to luring homeowners outside the home, some offenders will divert homeowners’ attention inside their home. There also are instances when offenders will remain inside with homeowners, distracting them inside their residence, while other individuals will enter the home unbeknownst to homeowners.

Senior citizens are frequently the intended target of these crimes.

Here are some reminders:

Never allow anyone inside your home without a prescheduled appointment.

If an individual claims affiliation with your local government, ask the person to produce identification and call the government office to verify the individual.

Do not exit your home with an unscheduled visitor, leaving your home and valuables as potential targets.

Keep an extra watch on elderly neighbors and family members, reminding them of these types of criminal behaviors.

Educate your relatives and neighbors (especially the elderly), informing them ruse burglaries are on the increase in Lake County.

Immediately report any suspicious activity by calling 911.

“When these con artists strike, we often see the vulnerable lose valuable keepsakes that have tremendous sentimental value,” Sheriff John Idleburg said in the release. “Please tell your neighbors, family and friends about these scams. Never hesitate to call your local law enforcement if you see suspicious activity or a suspicious vehicle in your neighborhood.”