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Homewood and Flossmoor Police Warn Community of Ruse Burglaries

Recent ruse activity in the area has prompted both Homewood and Flossmoor Police Departments to issue a community awareness alert.

and issued community alerts this week, asking residents to be on the lookout for deceptive burglars who have been targeting area residents.

These warnings come after a recent incident in Homewood:

A couple living in the 1800 block of Evergreen Road were the latest victims of a ruse type residential burglary. 

The couple told police that a Hispanic man approached the home around 2 p.m. claiming to be a new neighbor. He asked to show in the back yard where he was planning to work along their adjacent properties, and during this made several phone calls in Spanish. After he left, police said, the couple found that cash was missing from underneath their mattress.

According to police, senior citizens are often the targets of these types of burglaries. Subjects may speak a foreign language similar to Spanish or Polish.

Police say the burglars attempt to distract residents in or outside their homes so an accomplice can sneak inside to steal valuables, often cash and jewelery.

Common False Identities Include:

  • New Neighbor
  • Utility Worker
  • Village Employee
  • Construction Worker

Common False Stories Include:

  • Installing a fence and need you to check the property line
  • Checking on your water meter or working on broken water main
  • Cutting trees or performing a service that may affect your property
  • Checking on work that was done for you or your neighbor

How Can You Combat A Ruse Burglary?

  • Call "911" if there is someone at your home that you believe is trying to deceive you.
  • The police will come out and verify the identity of anyone in your neighborhood.
  • Ask for identification from anyone that comes to your door and wants to enter your home.
  • Employees of the village can be verified by required work identification.
  • Utility companies such as ComEd, Nicor and Comcast issue their employees identification.
  • Ask what company the person works for and call that company to verify.
  • Write down any vehicle information such as license plate, make, model and color.
Emily Cote April 20, 2012 at 01:48 PM
How is this a "gypsy ruse"? Whoever wrote this article, and if necessary the Homewood and Flossmoor police, need to issue an apology for using such an offensive ethnic slur. It sounds to me that these burglaries were committed by thieves, plan and simple. A thousand year old prejudice/ stereotype has nothing to do with this series of crimes nor do they have any place in the Patch. This article needs to be taken down ASAP.
Steve Burke April 20, 2012 at 02:01 PM
OK. They should call it the "Roma Ruse." Roma/Romani is the original term, correct?
KLB April 20, 2012 at 02:06 PM
It's the correct term for the Roma but inappropriate to apply to a type of burglary. It's stereotyping. What next? "Swarthy women with headscarves and golden earrings were seen stealing chickens"? I can imagine there would be fussing if any other ethnic name was applied to a type of crime. It's just not very nice, is it?
Jan M. April 20, 2012 at 02:48 PM
What's wrong with you people? If these are the ethnicities of the idiots commiting these crimes, then how else should it be relayed? I am grateful to be warned of this. Would you rather be lied to about the ethnicity? Again I ask...what is wrong with you?
Innocent Bystander April 20, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Emily Google this the term it is used by everyone "gypsy scams in chicago" I used to live upstairs in a duplex a family of "Gypsies" and they would go to bars late night and sell roses they put a Psychic sign in the front window until I had the Landlord remove it. It got to the point where I recorded their wireless phone conversations of them plotting to steal equipment from local businesses. Call a Spade a Spade!
KLB April 20, 2012 at 03:25 PM
In the first place, the ethnicity is only being guessed at. They could be Roma--or Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Moroccan, Algerian, Mexican--or Polish or Jewish. A simple warning with the description of the ruse should be sufficient. What's wrong with you that you have to label people? So you're keeping a beady eye out for swarthy gypsies and clean-cut Ted Bundy taps you on the shoulder. Don't be simple-minded.
Emily Cote April 20, 2012 at 03:49 PM
I dont care about a person's ethnicity, I care about the crime. And how ignorant are you as to think that every person who sets up shop as a "psychic" is Roma? And how is frequenting bars late at night indicative of one's ethnicity? You really do the stereotype of the ignorant and hateful gadje justice.
KLB April 20, 2012 at 04:09 PM
"It got to the point where I recorded their wireless phone conversations of them plotting to steal equipment from local businesses." BTW, this is illegal--just like burglary.
Gogigi April 20, 2012 at 04:45 PM
To KLB -- and recording their phone calls without their knowledge or permission is legal? Really!
Resident April 20, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Whatever the police dubbed the potential crime, it's good to know the points that have been mentioned in this article. I don't see that the article is poorly written. It's outlining the facts as obtained from the police. What I question is that someone actually keeps money under their mattress. Who does that? Was the house ransacked? Because if it wasn't, why would they have checked the mattress to see if the money was missing? By the way, this is a good reason (among so many other good reasons) to adopt a dog (or cat). I doubt burglars would try to pull this sort of ruse if a dog was in the house or yard.
Kate Duff April 20, 2012 at 04:46 PM
I agree with Emily that calling it a "gypsy ruse" is an unnecessary ethnic slur that has been introduced here. The Homewood Police bulletin did not identify it as such, and there's nothing in the description of the suspects to indicate that "gypsies" are involved -- the suspects are described as Hispanic or Middle Eastern. It's a scam leading to a burglary -- plain and simple.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Editor) April 20, 2012 at 04:58 PM
"Gypsy Ruse" is a term taken from the police reports. I cannot, however, disagree with your contention. In efforts to maintain sensitivity we have decided to retract the term in favor of "Ruse Burglary." Thanks for expressing your opinion.
KLB April 20, 2012 at 05:11 PM
That's what I was referring to!
Kate Duff April 20, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Thanks, Ryan. You make the editor in me very happy.
Emily Cote April 20, 2012 at 05:44 PM
@ Ryan Fitzpatrick - Thank you for making the changes to the article. Your promptness is greatly appreciated. I would ask however that you remove "gypsy" as a related topic.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Editor) April 20, 2012 at 06:15 PM
It's the least I could do. Everything should be taken care of now.
Emily Cote April 20, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Thank you! :)
Ooftus Gooftus April 20, 2012 at 06:31 PM
A warning is given in order for us to be able to protect ourselves, and the politically correct jerks sound off to make an issue of the noun. The noise resulting from this overshadows the purpose of the notification. Grow up!!
Kate Duff April 20, 2012 at 07:13 PM
What you're missing, Ooftus Gooftus, is that placing the emphasis in the notification on the ethnicity of the perpetrators (inaccurately, at that!) actually detracts from the warning. It lowers people's ability to protect themselves because they're more likely to look out for the scam artists based on their appearance, not on their behavior. KLB summed it up nicely: "So you're keeping a beady eye out for swarthy gypsies and clean-cut Ted Bundy taps you on the shoulder. " It makes sense to describe the ethnicity of the man who robbed the house on Evergreen Road, because this is a known suspect operating in this area. But associating the scam in general with an ethnic group is counterproductive. If I were a burglar wanting to use this scam, I'd be enlisting a well-dressed, well-spoken white female as an accomplice, knowing that people are now on their guard for darker-skinned males approaching them, when really we ought to be aware of ANYONE luring us into our back yard while the front door is open and unobserved.
BlackHawks Fan April 20, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Come on Genvieve ~ The Romani are an ethnic group living mostly in Europe, who trace their origins to the Indian Subcontinent. Romani are widely known in the English-speaking world by the exonym Gypsies (or Gipsies). ;)
BlackHawks Fan April 20, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Unfortunatly some older people do keep their money under a matress or in their closet. What troubles me is why are people so trustworthy of some person that wants to enter your home or wants you to come outside. I have called the Homewood Police a number of times over the years if I thought there was something amiss. The police have always responded, called back and thanked me or gave me an update at my door. Our police department is wonderful.
BlackHawks Fan April 20, 2012 at 08:11 PM
I know, that is why I winked!!!! I found some comments to be quite amusing myself!!!
Steve Burke April 20, 2012 at 08:23 PM
you can send him to one of the dinners
KLB April 20, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Genvieve, it's not funny. The Romani people have been persecuted for hundreds of years and still are in many countries. Many thousands perished in the Holocaust. They are persecuted to this day in Europe and around the world. You need to educate yourself before you shoot your mouth off. Wikipedia, for starters, has a helpful article you could read. I'd like to think my neighbors in Homewood would stand up for what's right.
Lauren Traut (Editor) April 20, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Can everyone please keep it civil? The term has been removed and the matter corrected. No need to attack one another. Thanks, Lauren Traut Associate Regional Editor
Resident April 20, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Several times? Can you provide a link to that news?
Resident April 20, 2012 at 09:17 PM
@KLB: You took the words right out of my head.
Phillip R Baggs April 21, 2012 at 11:53 AM
Who would keep money in a mattress? Who would keep money in the bank? A refresher video on how the banking system works... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCu3fpg83TY&feature=youtube_gdata_player
Genvieve LaChappele April 21, 2012 at 01:04 PM
one was on juhlin in homewood, one near dixie in flossmoor and one on evergreen. the attempt in flossmoor was the only one thwarted. there have been warnings on channel 4 public access several times a day warning what to look for.

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