Robbers posing as utility workers target elderly homeowners

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CHICAGO -- Police issued a warning to people living on the South and Southwest Sides: robbers posing as utility workers are talking their way into homes, targeting elderly homeowners in particular.

One victim told WGN News a man came to her house near 31st and Halsted, and said he was a plumber working down the street. He told her there was an emergency and he needed to get inside to check her pipes. As that suspect distracted her, others entered the home and robbed her. The woman says her son came home during the burglary and chased the suspects away.

Another robbery targeted an elderly woman living alone. Kris Wild says on January 17, two men told her they were there to check the hot water heater, and pushed their way in after she answered the door. While they were downstairs, the first man radioed his partner in crime, who then entered Kris's home unbeknownst told her, and headed straight for her bedroom. The robbers walked off with some irreplaceable jewelry and cash.

Chicago police have issued a community alert for the 9th District, which includes the neighborhoods of Bridgeport, Gage Park and McKinley Park, saying burglaries happened in the afternoon of:

  • January 5th in the 5300 block of South California
  • January 8th in the 2500 block of South Normal
  • January 10th in the 1800 block of West 34th Street
  • January 27th in the 1300 block of West Fuller Street.

Police have released only vague descriptions of the robbers, but there could be as many as eight offenders, including: two unknown white males between 20-30-years-old; one male white Hispanic between 40-45-years old, 5-feet-8-inches tall and 200 lbs; and three unknown offenders.

Police are hoping cameras in the area can help identify the suspects.