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Scammers Hit Homes in Dormont, Swissvale

Reports of people burglarizing homes after telling the owners they are with various companies have been made in Dormont and Swissvale.

It’s becoming a familiar story—people going door-to-door, participating in a scam situation in which they say they’re with an organization to gain access to your property.

are investigating one of these situations, which occurred Thursday morning and resulted in the burglary of a home in the 1300 block of Illinois Avenue.

Shortly after 10 a.m. on Thursday, an elderly couple called Dormont police to report their home had been burglarized.

The couple told police a man they described as being Mexican-American came to their home and said he was a property assessment officer from Allegheny County. The man told police the suspect took him to the back of the home to talk about his car, and left after a discussion that lasted about 15 minutes.

When the man went back inside his home, he discovered that money and jewelry—including several of his wife’s rings—had been stolen.

Three hours later, a similar incident was reported in Swissvale and the same description of the suspect was given. In this instance, the suspect told a homeowner he was with the water company.

Don Kelly of the Dormont police said this is the only incident that’s been reported in Dormont so far, although earlier in the week, two and soliciting cash funds.

“There actually will be teams of gypsy-type people that will go through the area,” Kelly said. “They’ll drift through, commit these types of crimes and then move on to a completely different area.

Kelly said in these cases, it’s often possible that the suspects do not live in the area. At least two people are involved in the Dormont and Swissvale robberies, he said. Police are investigating the incidents.

Kelly said that if someone comes to a home with similar claims, residents should ask for credentials.

“Anyone who’s legitimate will almost always have their credentials displayed,” Kelly said. “If you’re uncertain, call the police and ask the police to ID the persons.”

MSgt. John DeLallo March 10, 2012 at 03:55 PM
This scam is as old as Lincoln. Tinkers (Irish gypsies) do it in Ireland, and gypsies, and just plain old scammers, do it here. If you own a large, loud dog, they likely won't bug you. If you don't know the person, never open the door. Insist on I.D. Call 911 immediately if in doubt. Remember the police are only minutes away when seconds count! Your home security is YOUR responsibility, not the police department's. Should you, then, cower in fear in a corner? Probably not. Should you walk around the house with a shotgun? That's a little inconvenient. Your best defense is the castle you live in. If you breach your own security by opening your door to a stranger, the consequences are on you.
Jenny March 12, 2012 at 04:03 PM
"if u breach your own security by opening your door to a stranger, the consequences are on you".... Is a ridiculous statement to make!!!! My front door is open right now cause its nice out. The police should make this town safe enough for me to be able to keep it open. That's what my tax dollars pay for, my safety.How dare u place the blame of this situation on the residents. I'm not letting strangers inside but to tell me not to open my front door is insane!!!!!!
Ed M March 12, 2012 at 05:01 PM
I think what John meant was if you let 'em in, your get the consequences.

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