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12 October 2011 at 09:35 - Posted by Anonymous

Wolves in sheep's clothing - criminals pose as honest tradesmen


A new modus operandi (MO) for house breaking is being used in the northern suburbs.
Robbers enter houses pretending to be service providers. Various security companies have reported incidents where thieves have claimed to be plumbers, Telkom technicians or from Joburg Water or City Power. In the latest incident robbers posed as garden service providers.

Thieves seemed to know when these services were expected and used this information to make themselves more credible.

According to Stephen Rosenthal of CSS Tactical the garden service incident, that occurred in Cambridge Road, Craighall Park should be a warning to homeowners.

"These robbers had staked out the house and knew when the garden service was expected. When they rang the bell the domestic worker was expecting the landscapers and let them in without a qualm," he said at a Sector 4 policing meeting. "The bakkie they were driving was loaded with lawnmowers and other equipment. This is a new method of gaining entry and we should be more alert."

Rosenthal felt that people who live in complexes may be more at risk as they have a false sense of security. "Thieves have a way of penetrating complexes where they have access to 20 houses rather than just one. Guards need to be extra careful about numbers. We have found that a vehicle will arrive loaded with six people and leave with four. Then houses are robbed after  dark."

More incidents making use of this MO have been reported in the Sandown area that is currently targeted by two men in a white Honda Accord. They gain entry by claiming that they have come to repair something in the house. Warrant Officer Moses Ramaphakela said, "Once they are inside they take everything in the house. We don't have a registration for this vehicle but the police are tracking it."

Community members are urged to be on the lookout and to call the police or their security company when they see suspicious people or actions.

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