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News Release

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Media Relations

Residential Distraction Burglaries Target Elderly Victims in Los Angeles

Los Angeles: Detectives are investigating a series of home burglaries that have occurred throughout Los Angeles in recent months. The crimes are being committed by organized groups of transient thieves who prey on vulnerable elderly victims.

The suspects, a diverse group of males and females, ages 17 to 50, have been variously described as Caucasian, Eastern European, Hispanic, Filipino and "Gypsy." They often work in teams and pose as utility company employees, construction workers, plumbers or individuals claiming to be searching for a lost pet. They are sometimes accompanied by small children. Some are narcotics users.

The suspects always ask for the victim's permission before entering their home or backyard, on the pretense of inspecting a plumbing, electrical or construction problem, or say they are looking for a lost pet. The suspects are usually very courteous and convincing. Once the victim(s) is distracted, a secondary team of burglars enters the residence and steals valuables. The burglars target elderly victims living in single family homes.

Most recently, on August 2, 2006, a distraction burglary of an elderly victim in Pacific Area was observed by an off-duty LAPD officer who lived across the street. The officer's actions foiled the crime and resulted in the arrest of Franklin Peck, 35, who was charged with elder abuse, residential burglary, possession of controlled substances and outstanding warrants.

Police are seeking to raise public awareness of these crimes. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Jeff Anderson or Detective Dimitri Kort, Commercial Crimes Division, at 213-485-2524, during normal business hours. After hours and on weekends, call the 24-hour toll free Detective Information Desk at 1-877-LAW-FULL (1-877-529-3855).

The identities of callers wishing to remain anonymous shall be protected.

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