Police: 2 Dillsburg-area residents too wise for distraction scammers

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
  • Police are warning residents to be on alert for scammers who knock on doors claiming to be workers or even claiming car trouble.

Two more northern York County residents have been targeted in distraction burglary scams, according to police, who said the residents wisely refused to open their doors to the thieves.

Northern York County Regional Police this week warned residents about distraction burglary schemes after an 86-year-old woman on Capitol Hill Road in Franklin Township lost thousands of dollars to a burglary crew that lured her from her home on June 21.

Northern York County Regional Police are searching for a crew of distraction burglars spotted in a purple PT Cruiser like this one.

Northern Regional Lt. David Lash said investigators believe the latest attempts are related to the June 21 incident and said officers are now looking for a purple Chrysler PT Cruiser in connection with the crimes.

About 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, a stocky white man in his late 40s or 50s knocked on the door of a 58-year-old woman who lives in the 600 block of County Line Road in Franklin Township.

Forewarned: But the resident did not open her door, police said. Instead, she called 911.

The woman later told officers she was on guard because her daughter had warned her about the June 21 distraction burglary.

She said the man, along with a woman and a second man, got in a purple PT Cruiser and left the area, heading north on Route 15, police said.

It's the second time someone reported the brightly colored vehicle that day.

"We had another report in the very same area involving this PT Cruiser," Lash said.

Vehicle trouble? Between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, a woman knocked on the door of a home in the 600 block of Capitol Hill Road and told the man who lives there that she and her friends were having vehicle trouble, according to Lash.

She asked him for water to put in the radiator of the purple PT Cruiser.

But the resident had seen media reports warning people about distraction scammers, and he wouldn't let her inside, Lash said — much to her annoyance.

"She was very insistent about being let inside the home," Lash said.

Distraction burglars targeting York County seniors

Instead, the resident gave her a gallon of water and sent her on her way, the lieutenant said.

She left in the purple PT Cruiser with two men, police said.

She is described as thin and white, with tattoos on her arms and bad teeth. She was wearing a T-shirt that read, "Smile. Be happy," according to Lash.

Last week's incident: About 8 p.m. June 21, a man knocked on the door of an 86-year-old woman who lives on Capitol Hill Road and told her he was doing tree removal at the far edge of her property for the state Department of Transportation, police have said.

He is described as stocky, white, between 40 and 50 years old, with brown hair. He was wearing a Sherwin-Williams work shirt, according to police.

At his request, she walked with him to the edge of her property so they could discuss which trees were being removed.

When she returned to her home 20 minutes later, she discovered her jewelry and floor safe were missing, according to Lash.

Check 'em out: If someone unexpected knocks at your door, check their identities as thoroughly as possible before opening the door to them or going outside with them, Lash urged.

Residents should see if the person is wearing a legitimate work uniform and whether any supposed company truck has a logo.

People should call the company a person claims to be with and ask if the company has sent a work crew to their neighborhood, Lash said.

Or call 911: Residents also can simply call 911 if they can't satisfactorily identify the person at their door.

"Our officers will be happy to come out and make sure they're legitimate," Lash said.

"Don't ever be lured out of your house without calling someone else to come over first," the lieutenant said, so a second person can guard your home.

And always lock the doors to your home and vehicles, Lash said.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.