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June 5, 2018 - 5:35pm

Gypsies may be working a distraction scam in the area

posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, pembroke, batavia, news, notify.

A recent theft of cash, jewelry, and prescriptions from a home on Batavia Elba Townline Road and another attempted similar burglary on Indian Falls Road over the weekend has gotten the attention of the Sheriff's Office and Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster says local residents should be on the watch for Gypsy scammers in their neighborhoods.

In the Townline Road case, a dark-skinned man came to the front door of a 96-year-old resident and said he was there to investigate a problem with a telephone line behind the house.

When the resident and the visitor went behind the house, two other people, who had apparently been hiding in the car, entered the house and stole items.

In the case on Indian Falls Road, a person knocked on the door and said he was there to see about cutting down some trees behind the house.  Somehow, he talked the resident into walking behind the house. At which point, at least one person entered the residence. In that case, nothing was stolen.

In both cases, the visitors arrived in a white Kia. The Kia is missing a front plate and likely has an out-of-state back plate.

Brewster said the operation matches a well-known scam run by Gypsies who pass through the area occasionally. He said they are most likely staying at a motel in a neighboring county. They don't usually stay in the county where they are conducting their scams.

They will approach residents, usually elderly residents, with any number of stories to try and talk the resident into walking to the back of the house so confederates can enter the residence and make off with whatever valuables they can easily grab.

While there have been no reports of similar crimes in the city, he said city residents should be vigilant for people who try to talk their way into basements.

He said he isn't sure how the Gypsies select their victims -- whether they case neighborhoods beforehand to identify elderly residents or if they acquire names and addresses online.

Brewster said residents who observe suspicious activity at a neighbor's house, such as one person going to the door and then going into the backyard, followed by two more people getting out of a car and entering the front door -- call the police.

Scott Chismar
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Hey Howard, I am not one to be known for my Political Correctness, but I do need to say that I know using the term "Gypsy" is incredibly offensive to some.

Irene Will
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What IS the politically correct term for gypsies ?

Steve Dow
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A "possibly misunderstood, non gender specific person with skin of any color" would probably be more appropriate.

Scott Chismar
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Howard B. Owens
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Scott, tell that to law enforcement.

Google "gypsy crimes."

Cheryl Saville
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Nomadic ne'er-do-wells? Roaming robbers? Perambulating purloiners ?

Rich Richmond
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I enjoyed comments two, three, four, five, and especially six, when Cheryl gently soothed the offended feelings and sensibilities by calling them (Gypsies) perambulating purloiners.

Billie Owens
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I'm adding perambulating purloiners to my vocabulary now.

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