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Hunterdon County Prosecutor Warns Of ’Distraction Burglary’ Scheme Targeting Elderly Residents

Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office
Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office Photo Credit: Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office via Facebook

A man posing as a power company employee had help from an accomplice to break a Hunterdon County woman’s dresser drawer and steal her jewelry Tuesday in what authorities are calling a “distraction/imposter burglary.”

A white man in his 30s came to the woman’s home in West Amwell Township and told her that there was an issue with a nearby transformer that could cause her to lose power unless he checked the breaker box, according to a Wednesday morning release from the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office.

The woman took the man to the basement, where he flipped a few circuit breakers and left a short time later, authorities said.

After the man left, the woman noticed that a dresser drawer had been broken and there was jewelry missing, authorities said.

“This method of operation is consistent with distraction/imposter burglaries,” Acting Prosecutor Michael J. Williams said. “Distraction burglary is a crime in which elderly persons are often the targets. The perpetrator seeks to distract the resident out of the house or to another area of the house while an accomplice enters the home and steals valuables such as money and jewelry.”

To prevent these types of burglaries, HCPO officials urge residents to remain cautious of anyone who comes to the door claiming to be a business employee and to verify their identity by calling their place of employment.

“It is a good idea to ask for identification, but unfortunately, that can be faked,” Williams said. “Instead, the HCPO advises residents to call the agency they claim to represent and confirm that there are legitimate workers in the area or immediately contact your local police department.”

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