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Police warn seniors about rash of thefts

Police are warning senior citizens in the 104th Precinct not to invite strangers into their homes following a recent rash of burglaries by women who prey upon the hospitality of the unsuspecting elderly.

Precinct commander Captain Peter Loehle said he believes the same two women have burglarized three homes in late March and early April by distracting the residents and snatching valuables from right under their noses.

“If someone comes to your door and you don’t know who it is, don’t let them in,” Loehle advised the senior citizens of the 104th Precinct, which includes Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village.

The scheme changed little from one incident to the next. One woman in her early 20s with olive-colored skin knocks at the door and asks for something, like a drink of water or a room to rent. In one instance she even claimed to work for the church, Loehle said.

But after the elderly residents let the woman into their homes, an accomplice then slips in behind her and rummages around, stealing mainly jewelry and cash. Meanwhile the occupant, who is always distracted by the guest, never sees a thing.

“They get what they can get,” Loehle said. “They’re not walking out with TV sets—whatever they can stick in their pockets.”

The pair targets senior citizens, ringing the doorbell at a series of homes until they find an elderly woman; if anyone else answers, they concoct an excuse and walk away, Loehle said.

The most recent incident occurred 1 p.m. April 3 at a home by Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood, where an 81-year-old woman unwittingly let the thieves enter after one asked her for a glass of water. An 87-year-old woman who lives on Maspeth Avenue in Maspeth fell prey to the duo March 23, three days after a 77-year-old was burglarized the same way on 75th Place in Middle Village.

The con artist who rings the doorbell tends to be well-dressed with her hair tied up in a bun. She may be white or Hispanic, Loehle said.

Loehle is asking anyone to call 911 if they see people who meet the burglars’ description ringing doorbells in their neighborhood.

“We want to grab these people before they hit again,” he said.

Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.

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