Wakefield District CID today issued details of the fake crime scam as its detectives appealed for information and urged residents to be on their guard against two men turning up with a masked youth, claiming he is responsible for damage caused in the area.
The distraction burglary took place at about 5.50pm on Wednesday after a man knocked at the door of a home in Cemetery Road, Hemsworth.
He told the 77-year-old female victim that he was chasing a youth who had damaged his grandmother’s house.
The victim then heard a noise in her back garden and, on investigating, found her patio doors had been damaged and a man and a younger male were outside.
The elder of the two men said he had caught the youth causing the damage and then brought him into the property.
The first man and the youth then distracted the victim, while the second man went upstairs and stole a handbag holding a large amount of cash.
The two older men then dragged the youth out, saying they would call the police regarding the break-in.
After they left, the victim found that her bedroom had been searched and the bag stolen.
Detective Inspector Sam Freeman of Wakefield District CID, said: “This has been a callous and absolutely shameless offence in which suspects have damaged a woman’s house and then staged a performance to distract a vulnerable victim while one of them has proceeded to search upstairs.
“She has understandably been left very distressed by the incident and is being supported by relatives.
“We are carrying out a number of enquiries and would like to speak to anyone who may have information about what took place or who can identify the male pictured or the men described."
One of the men was described as white, between 15 and 20 years old, 5ft 6in tall and wearing a light coloured baseball cap.
Another was described as large and wearing a large dark coat with a large hood.
The ‘suspect’ was between 16 and 17 years old, 6ft and wearing all black clothing and a balaclava.
Det Insp Freeman said: “I would also urge residents in Hemsworth and the surrounding areas to be vigilant regarding this scam and to contact police if approached in this way by a person or persons claiming to have been chasing a person causing damage.
“Hemsworth is a close knit community and I would urge anyone who may have heard something about this incident, or this type of scam, or anyone who has information to come forward."
Information can be given to Wakefield CID by calling 101 or using the online chat on the force website, referencing crime number 13180635461.
Reports can also be made anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.