Police warning of distraction burglars

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Police are warning residents of a distraction burglary that occurred in York County. A homeowner who lives on East Canal Road in Conewago Township called police after a man knocked on his door on Thursday, September 11th, between 10am and 11:30am. The man wanted to talk about where the resident’s property lines were located.  He told the resident that he needed to mark the property lines in preparation for a new road and housing development in the area.  The suspect and two residents of the home walked to the rear of their property.

The suspect received a phone call and told the homeowners that he needed to go out to his truck to get some paint to mark the property lines.  The homeowners say they waited about five minutes for the man to return, but he never did.  The homeowners then went back to their house and found jewelry scattered on the floor and doors open.  The homeowners checked the rest of the home and found that a safe had been opened and a large amount of cash and jewelry were missing.

The couple is really shaken up about the incident. They are in their 80’s and are retired. They say the burglars took virtually everything they worked their whole lives for.

Police believe these suspects will appear again.

“These are rare, and usually involving groups that are traveling great distances. It wouldn’t surprise me if the next one reported may be in two or three counties away,” said Lt. David Lash with Northern York County Regional Police. “He was wearing an orange traffic safety vest, so they assumed he was legitimate. Ask for identification, look for a company vehicle. A clearly marked vehicle. Burglars like this tend to act on people who are out doing yard work, mowing their grass, because normally when people are out mowing their grass leave a door open at their house or their garage door is open, which allows access to the house. So it’s just something people need to take into consideration when they are out doing this kind of work when they can’t see. There should never be a door open at your house that you can’t see people coming and going. If you feel they are legitimate and you are leaving your home, take your keys with you and lock the door on the way out. That way nobody has access to your home.”

“This is a distraction burglary or diversion burglary where one of co conspirators distracts or diverts the attention of the homeowners and another person or people enter the home and do the crime,” said Lt. Lash.

The male who was with the homeowners is described as follows;

  • Hispanic male with a heavy accent
  • 5’8″ tall
  • Short dark wavy hair
  • A fluorescent vest and long pants
  • Referred to himself as “Billy”

The homeowners could not provide a vehicle description.

The investigation into this incident continues.  Anyone with information should contact the Northern York County Regional Police Department at 717.292.3647 or use the crime tip reporting portion of this website.