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South Orange News

Created: March 26, 2010
Updated: September 15, 2010

Crime Alert / Diversion Scam

On Friday, October 30, 2009 at approximately 1230 hours two white males rang the door bell at a residence on Academy Street and claimed to be from the water company. The actors stated there was a water leak underground in the street and that they believed the leak was coming from inside the home. The homeowners, who were elderly, allowed the actors inside their home and asked to look around the home. It appears from further investigation, that a third actor entered the home while the other two diverted the attention of the residents and removed numerous collectible coins from a second floor bedroom. The suspects are described as follows: Two white males in their forties. One of the males was 5’8”; slim build with a salt and pepper beard and other was heavy set. One was wearing a royal blue jacket and a royal blue baseball hat. The second actor was wearing a dark blue jacket with a badge that had the words “security officer” on it. It was not until a half an hour after the actors left that the homeowners realized that a theft had taken place. The victims did not see the suspects enter a vehicle.
It appears that these same actors may have been involved in similar diversion scams in Edison on 10/12/2009 and Hanover on 10/17/09. It should be noted that in the Edison and Hanover jobs the vehicle believed to be involved is described as a newer model gray or white colored pick-up with an extended cab. There may be a green colored rag hanging from the tailgate
Any resident who is contacted by any person claiming to be a representative of a utility company to use appropriate caution before allowing them into their home or giving out any personal information.
A good practice would be to request identification and to confirm the person’s status as a representative of that company. This can be done by calling the company on the telephone with the number provided on your utility bill.
If there is a suspicion that the person is not who they claim to be, immediately call the South Orange Police Department.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Det. Mark Garrett (973) 763-3000 ext.7789.