File Photo – Lake County Sheriff’s Office | Photo: Jimmy Bolf

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has issued an alert to residents warning that ruse burglaries, where offenders distract homeowners and other suspects enter their homes to steal, have increased recently.

Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli said the increase has been seen throughout Northeastern Illinois, not just Lake County, in the last several weeks.

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 an individual, other individuals enter the home.

They typically target items to steal such as cash, jewelry and other valuables.

Covelli said suspects will use many excuses to lure homeowners outside the residence.

Some of those include claims of being subcontracted by local government, ploys of a broken pipe and schemes for landscaping services such as tree trimming and fence line questions.

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In addition to luring homeowners outside the home, some offenders will divert homeowners’ attention inside their homes, Covelli said.

There are also instances when offenders will remain inside with homeowners to distract them while other individuals will enter the home unbeknownst to homeowners.

Senior citizens are frequently the intended target of the crimes, Covelli said.

The sheriff’s office recommends never allowing anyone inside their home without a rescheduled appointment. Those who claim to be affiliated with a local government should be asked to show identification.

Residents should not leave their homes with an unscheduled visitor.

The sheriff’s office said residents should keep an extra watch on elderly neighbors and family members by reminding them of these types of criminal behaviors.

Anyone who observes suspicious behavior is encouraged to call 911.