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Police Warn Of Distraction Burglaries In West Covina

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WEST COVINA (CBS) — West Covina police were warning residents Friday of a man who poses as a worker, fixing street water pipes before another person burglarizes the homes of victims.

Three similar distraction burglaries were reported in the past two weeks, including two in West Covina and one in Arcadia, Cpl. Rudy Lopez said. Each of the victims was a woman older than 75-years-old who was alone when the burglary happened.

In each case, the suspect knocks on the victim’s door and says the victim’s water might be contaminated from a broken water pipe in the area, Lopez said. He asks the victim to run their kitchen water faucet for several minutes to check the water, requests a glass of water to see if it is dirty and a second suspect comes in the house when the victim is distracted.

On April 20, the victim saw the second suspect walk through the front door, saying he was a helper, Lopez said.

On Thursday, the suspect told the victim that he needed to run her backyard sprinklers to let the water clear up. While the suspect and victim were outside, the second suspect went inside the house and took valuables from four bedrooms, Lopez said.

The suspect made a distraction attempt this week in Arcadia but was unsuccessful because the victim never left his side, Lopez said.

The first suspect was described as a Latino man in his 30s or 40s, 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall. He is heavy set, has black hair, brown eyes, a distinctive decaying or gold capped upper tooth and wears a blue “NY” baseball hat. He has been seen using his cellular phone at the homes.

The second suspect is a Latino man, about 30 to 45 years old, with a thin build and Spanish accent.

Police advised that if anyone would like to enter a resident’s home, the resident should request identification and information about the company they represent.

Officials also warn people to keep their doors locked and know that water from a hose is the same water source from a kitchen faucet, which can be tested for contaminants.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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