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Collier County deputies go door-to-door warning of distraction burglaries

Posted at 5:51 PM, Jan 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-25 18:21:00-05

Collier County deputies began a new initiative Wednesday: going door to door, warning residents about distraction burglaries. 

"We have had a couple, so that's why we're trying to get on the front end of it," said Sgt. Thomas Orr of the Collier County Sheriff's Office. "Historically, it does happen during (tourist) season."

Distraction burglars typically pose as maintenance or utility workers, offering a service or asking to check a homeowner's water pressure, for example.

"They're there to distract the homeowner, and a partner that they're working with will go around to another entrance in the home, enter the home and burglarize it," Orr said.

Deputies knocked on numerous doors in the Willoughby Acres neighborhood, near Immokalee Road in North Naples, to make residents aware of the crimes.

Willoughby Acres resident Vaughn Palmateer said he appreciates the outreach from the Sheriff's Office. He said he has seen suspicious characters in his neighborhood.

"A lot of tree-trimming companies that don't have signs on their vehicles, and people looking for their dogs," Palmateer said.

His neighbor Brian Ferreira said he hopes more senior citizens in the area hear the message.

"These bad guys, they don't have schedules or boundaries," Ferreira said. "I don't care what neighborhood you live in, they're coming."

Orr said he hopes to be able to conduct the "Knock and Inform" campaign in as many Collier County neighborhoods as possible. During the community-oriented policing effort, they are also handing out flyers with information about how residents can protect themselves from identity theft.