TORRANCE ( — Authorities are warning elderly residents in the South Bay to beware of burglars posing as utility and city workers.

In the past couple of weeks several Torrance residents have fallen victim to suspects who distract them while accomplices comb the house for valuables.

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The burglars, often men, usually drive pickup trucks or vans in an effort to apparently look like they work for the government. They have reportedly claimed to work for electric companies, water departments or city inspectors. Occasionally the suspects were accompanied by women or children. Police said the suspects engage the residents while accomplices search the home for money or jewelry. Women have also been reported to knock on elderly residents’ doors asking for water to give to their sick child or if their child could use their bathroom.

The first incident reportedly occurred on July 23 in the 5200 block of Milne Drive. Two suspects posing as construction workers took cash from the two elderly residents in the home.

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An 86-year-old woman reported an incident Thursday in the 5200 block of Bindewald Road. Suspects approached her asking if a vehicle she had was for sale. They then used the bathroom and searched bedroom drawers, but took nothing.

On Sunday, suspects knocked on the door of a house in the 19900 block of Hawthorne Boulevard and asked the 77-year-old resident if a camper and older model vehicle parked outside were for sale. They then asked to use the bathroom and allegedly proceeded to take collectible coins from the master bedroom.

Torrance police ask anyone with information about the string of robberies to call (310) 328-3456.

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