Detectives assigned to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Burglary and Pawn Unit are currently investigating a “distraction scheme” by a group of individuals targeting elderly residents in Pinellas County.
The suspects approach residents in their homes, request access to the backyard and as one person is distracting the homeowner, other suspects enter the residence and steal their jewelry and cash.
Four incidents have been reported to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office since January 2014. All occurred in South Pinellas County in areas south of State Road 60.
According to investigators, the suspects approach residents in their homes and tell them they are there to inspect a water leak, to check property lines or to trim trees in the backyard. While they are distracting the homeowner, two to three other suspects enter the residence and steal items, such as jewelry and cash. During the schemes, the victims were distracted for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
Six suspects have been reported as taking part in the schemes. One is a Hispanic male in his 40s with a medium build, clean-shaven round face and dark short hair. A second is a black male, 30 to 40 years old with a thin build and full trimmed beard.
Three are white males. One is about 25 to 40 years old with a heavy build and short dirty blonde hair. The second is about age 25, 5 foot 10 inches tall with a slim build, short black hair, brown eyes and scruffy facial hair. A third is about age 50 with a heavy build. Deputies had no description of the female.
During the schemes the suspects used various vehicles, including a dark brown, Ford F150 crew cab with a dark brown topper; small black pickup truck; white pickup truck, two-door, possibly ten years old in decent condition with tree branch debris in the bed; newer white full-size pickup; and a small white car with the trunk open.
If you have been a victim of this crime or have any information on these thefts, call Detective Creaser of the Burglary & Pawn Unit at 727-582-6200.