Police are appealing for information after a distraction burglary in Little Stoke last night (Wednesday 14th January).
At approximately 8pm, a 73-year-old woman discovered a man in the kitchen of her property. The man claimed to be a security guard who wanted to check the woman was OK and that her money and jewellery was safe after a burglary down the road.
The man then persuaded the woman to go upstairs and bring down all of the cash she had in the house. The victim did this and was then asked by the man if there was any more money she had hidden away and to bring this down to him. The woman did this and brought down more money.
The suspect then said the police were on the way and left via the kitchen door. It was then the victim realised the man had taken all of the money.
The suspect is described as white, approximately 5ft 8ins tall, of a thin build with a West Country accent. He was wearing a grey sweater, black rubber gloves and a black woollen balaclava.
Police say they are keeping an open mind as to whether this incident is linked to similar incidents which took place in the Bristol area before Christmas.
Detective Sergeant Richard Barnston of Bristol CID said:
“This was a targeted burglary involving an elderly woman who was alone in her home. The suspect has tricked her into thinking he is trying to help her by inventing a story about a burglary nearby. Once he has gained her trust, he has taken her life-savings without a second thought.”
“I am appealing for anyone with information regarding this incident to come forward, but I am also appealing for anyone who works with or knows an elderly person to make sure they are aware of these sorts of crimes.”
“Our advice is clear; challenge anyone who claims to be from a professional body and refuse to answer the door to them. If you find someone inside your property, call us immediately on 999.”
“I would ask local people to be vigilant in light of this latest incident and keep an eye on those most vulnerable in our neighbourhoods.”
“We are following several lines of enquiries but I am keen to hear from anyone with information regarding this incident.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where information can be left anonymously.
Source: Press release from Avon and Somerset Police.