Police in Miami-Dade County are warning of thieves who distract elderly residents and then steal pricey jewelry from their homes.
During the crimes, a person posing as a utility worker, an exterminator, a landscaper or a construction worker knocks on a door, usually at the home of an elderly person, and convinces the resident to go outside to look at a fictional issue. While the resident is distracted outside the house, the fake worker's partner goes inside the home and steals valuables, according to police.
Coral Gables police said thieves stole a couple hundred thousand dollars' worth of jewelry in 13 crimes this year alone. Police said the scam artists target elderly residents of neighborhoods in Coral Gables, Pinecrest and southwestern Miami-Dade County.
Entering another person's home without their consent with the intent to commit a crime inside is burglary. Stealing property within a home constitutes the crime of grand theft if the property is valued at over $300.
Grand theft varies by degrees depending on the value of the property stolen. Click here to learn more about the degrees of grand theft.
Burglary of a dwelling is a second-degree felony. Grand theft can range from a third-degree felony to a first-degree felony.