Police say a dog foiled a ruse burglary attempt in Riverwoods by scaring off suspects that distracted an elderly couple and tried entering their home.
The Riverwoods Police Department responded around 1:30 p.m. Sunday to a home on Hoffman Lane in Riverwoods for a report of an attempted burglary.
Riverwoods Police Chief Bruce Dayno said that a male came to the front door of a senior couple’s home and told them he was doing tree trimming in the area.
He lured the couple out to the side of their home. The couple then heard their dog barking at the front door.
Dayno said they immediately returned to the front door and saw another male walk away from the door.
The man fled in what the couple believed to be a tan color four-door vehicle.
The first male, who identified himself as “Arturo,” also got into the vehicle and it left southbound towards Deerfield Road.
“Arturo” is described as a male Hispanic, 40 years old, 5-foot-9, thin build, wearing a beige shirt and cloth face mask. He entered the passenger seat of the vehicle.
The subject who tried entering the home is described as a male Hispanic, 30-40 years old, 6-foot-2, heavy build, wearing a cloth face mask.
Dayno said that the suspects did not make entry to the home due to being scared off by the victim’s dog barking.
On Monday, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office issued a warning to the public that ruse burglaries are increasing across the county.
Lake County Sheriff Chief of Staff Anthony Vega said that Northern Illinois tends to see an increase in ruse burglaries during the summer months.
Ruse burglars have already been striking this summer in Lake County and surrounding areas, Vega said.
A ruse burglary is a distraction technique used to lure homeowners outside of their homes.
After the homeowner is outside the home and distracted by one individual, another individual or individuals enter 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 and fence line questions, and more.
There are also instances when offenders will remain inside with homeowners distracting them while other individuals will enter the home unbeknownst to homeowners, Vega said.
Senior citizens are frequently the intended target of these crimes.
The sheriff’s office says to never allow anyone inside their home without a prescheduled appointment.
If an individual claims affiliation with the 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, and keep an extra watch on elderly neighbors and family members reminding them of these types of criminal behaviors.
Vega says it is also important to educate your relatives and neighbors as these burglaries are increasing in Lake County.
“When these con artists strike, we often see the vulnerable lose valuable keepsakes that have tremendous sentimental value. Please tell your neighbors, family, and friends about these scams,” Sheriff John D. Idleburg said.
“Never hesitate to call your local law enforcement if you see suspicious activity or a suspicious vehicle in your neighborhood,” Idleburg said.