Police are investigating three distraction burglaries where a man posing as a scaffolder has stolen from elderly victims in Hove and Brighton.
The coman struck at two flats in The Drive, Hove, on Friday (12 April) telling the occupants that he was working for a scaffolding company in their block of flats and showing them a photo ID car, which is believed to be fake. In the first attempt sometime between 11.30am and midday, he told the victim that he needed to move some scaffolding to the rear of her flat and she needed to move items from her balcony. She stayed with him while he looked at her balcony and he then left empty handed. At the second flat at about 1.30pm he told the 93-year-old victim that he needed to use her toilet. While he was left alone he stole her purse containing cash and cards from her bedroom.
The man then called at a flat in Freshfield Street, Brighton, on Wednesday (17 April) at about 3.15pm and told the woman occupant that he was putting scaffolding up next door and needed access to her garden. She took him through to the garden and he told her his workmate was at her front door. There was no one there but she later realised her purse had been stolen from her handbag containing a large amount of cash.
The suspect is white, 6', in his late 50s, with grey and black peppered hair, clean shaven, with blackened teeth and a weathered complexion. He was wearing a black overcoat and cottons fingerless gloves.
Detective Inspector Cath O'Connor said: "We are linking these reports of distractions burglaries as each time the suspect has posed as a scaffolder. He is preying on elderly victims, one of whom was 93. We are asking anyone who recognises the description of this man or has any information about these incidents to contact us.
"We would urge residents to remain vigilant and to report anything suspicious to us. It’s also important to remember to challenge any unknown callers for ID. You can check this by calling the service provider they claim to be from. Keep your properties secure by locking them or putting your front door on a chain, and if in doubt, don’t let them in.”
Report online or ring 101 quoting Operation Inroad.
For further advice on dealing with unwanted callers see our website