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Oak Lawn Police Warn Of Thieves Posing As Utility Workers

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A warning to suburban homeowners: Thieves are posing as village workers to get inside people's homes. Three homes in Oak Lawn were targeted in less than a week.

Now police are saying to keep an eye out for neighbors, especially if they are senior citizens.

"That's the reason they're targeting the elderly: They're very vulnerable," said Oak Lawn Police Division Chief Gerald Vetter.

In less than a week three homes have been burglarized, all on the west side of the village between 91st Place and 93rd Street. The thieves knock on the seniors' doors and claim to work the for Oak Lawn water department.

"And on the second incident they claimed to be from Commonwealth Edison," Vetter said.

Once the seniors open the door, the fake worker or three or four are invited in under the false pretense of fixing a meter. That's when valuables and cash are stolen before the senior realizes whats going on.

"A public works employee won't show up to your house unannounced unless there's an emergency, and if there's an emergency, the homeowner will probably know an emergency going on," Vetter said.

Earlier this month an elderly couple in their 80s fell victim in Westchester. Cash and jewelry were gone in seconds.

At the time police said  four men took off in a black GMC. Weeks later that type of vehicle popped  up in Oak Lawn.

"I can't confirm it's the same SUV, but this black SUV has been described in a couple of the incidents in our town," Vetter said.

While these seniors are targeted a their homes, police believe there's a good chance they're becoming victims well before they pull into their driveways.

"They target the eldery, whether they follow them home from the store or the bank or see them driving," Vetter said.

They're asking everyone to stay alert when driving home and take different routes as well.

While no one has been hurt in these crimes, police want everyone -- especially the elderly -- to feel safe while inside their homes.

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