Warm Weather Crime Alert
The Anne Arundel County Police Department would like to make its citizens aware of possible warm weather theft schemes and provide applicable safety tips to avoid becoming a victim.
Last year, the Anne Arundel County Police Department was made aware of an incident involving individuals who failed to perform contracted work. Contracts were written and a down payment was requested for materials. The remaining portion of the contract was agreed to be paid upon completion of the work, but the individuals paid to perform the work took the money, failed to deliver the materials and never completed any of the labor.
In another incident, a ruse was orchestrated by individuals claiming to work for the water department. The suspect used the ruse to enter a victim’s residence to inspect the water pressure. That suspect then utilized a hand held radio to communicate with a second subject to advise that the victim was in the basement area of the residence. The purpose of this communication was to let the second subject know it was safe to enter the residence. Once in the residence, the second subject went through the residence looking for cash, jewelry and other items.
The public is encouraged to follow the following guidelines and safety tips:
- Get at least three estimates from at least three different contractors. Check and verify all references supplied by the contractor. Shop around!
- Check to see if the contractor is licensed in the State of Maryland and/or locally.
- Know the difference between proposals (estimated costs) and contracts (specified costs) and ask for a written warranty or guarantee with your contract.
- Be sure the contract describes the service(s) to be performed, lists the materials to be used and includes a starting and expected completion date.
- Be cautious of companies that require advanced payments.
- Contact the Better Business Bureau to file a complaint for the non-delivery of services or check with them ahead of time to see if there were prior complaints. File a consumer complaint with the Maryland Attorney General Consumer Protection Division for the non-delivery of services.
Utility Worker Scams:
- Deception burglars often work in pairs and target the elderly. Check on your neighbors if you observe workers at their residence.
- Be suspicious of utility workers who arrive unannounced, have unmarked vehicles and insist on performing work inside your home.
- Request identification first and call to confirm that the company has workers in the area and that the specified type of work would actually need to be conducted inside of the home.
- When someone insists on entering your home or acts in a suspicious manner, immediately call the police department to investigate.
- If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
- Secure all lawn and household power equipment, bikes and ATV’s in locked sheds or garages. Also, consider running a chain through items as this is a deterrent to thieves attempting to act quickly.
- Engrave your valuables and record the model and serial numbers from your property.
- While working in your yard, keep your home, shed and/or garage locked and a have your keys handy as opportunistic thieves will take advantage of distracted homeowners.
- Keep windows and patio doors locked.
- Consider installing motion sensor lighting.