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Boy distracts to help burglar in I.E. scam

March 26, 2010 12:55:09 AM PDT
A young boy has been knocking on doors in Hemet to ask people for help finding his lost cat. While it sounds innocent enough, police say it's actually part of a scam.While people are preoccupied with the boy, someone else burglarizes their house.

Police said it's a new twist on the classic diversion scam. A boy, around 9 years old, knocks on the front door of an unsuspecting resident. When the resident answers, the boy claims he lost his cat and tells the resident he thinks it might be in the backyard.

While the boy and the resident are in the backyard, another man sneaks into the house, steals whatever he can, and takes off in a pickup truck. Then the suspect gets into a black late-model full-sized truck and speeds off.

"It's not really a new thing. It's just kind of a unique angle with the cat issue and the small child," said Hemet police Cpl. Jeff Dill.

Detectives said the suspect is a white male in his 20s, about 5 feet 5 inches tall, with a thin build. He escaped in a black, late-model full-sized pickup truck.

It's happened a couple times in the past week in Hemet. The first time, the suspects got away with jewelry, but the second time, the residents scared them away.

"The second time was just an attempt. The resident was kind of hip on what was going on and threatened to call the police, and that kind of shooed them away," said Dill.

Both incidents were reported in the 600 block of Shasta Way.

Police said it doesn't look like the suspects are targeting the elderly, and they want everyone to be aware of the scam.

Anyone with information was urged to call the Hemet Police Department tip line at (951) 765-3897.