Thieves target elderly in Orange County

A $1,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of suspects who have been using a distraction scheme to burglarize homes in Orange County.

According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, there have been 10 cases since late March.  In each case, a suspect claiming to be a county employee, utility worker or some other kind of laborer knocks on the homeowner’s door, claims there is work to do outside and asks the resident to walk with him to the back yard.

While the homeowner is distracted, a second suspect goes inside the home and steals property such as jewelry, safes and cash.  Deputies say the suspect targets elderly victims like Lily Moy.

“I saw the money was all gone and my watch, gone.  And I feel really bad,” Moy said.

According to authorities, descriptions of the suspect have varied, but the majority are of a White or Hispanic man in his late 20s or early 30s.

Authorities advise homeowners to ask anyone who claims to need to do work around the home for identification, make sure the home is locked, and call an officer to report suspicious behavior.  

Anyone with information about the suspects should call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477).