Old lady is victim of bogus caller in Ballymena

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An elderly lady in Ballymena had a sum of cash stolen from inside her home after answering the door to a man claiming to be from the water board.

Ballymena detectives are seeking public help in finding the distraction burglars who struck at Montague Park, off the Toome Road, at around 3:30pm on Tuesday, March 24.

The man persuaded his way inside the house and as the lady was occupied, a second person is thought to have come inside, going through drawers and stealing a sum of cash.

Detective Chief Inspector Catherine Magee said: “Usefully, we have a good description of a man thought to be involved in this incident. The burglary happened at a busy time of day, in a busy area, and so I would ask for help from the local community in identifying him. He is thought to be aged in this forties, around 6 foot in height with light brown hair and stubble. He was wearing a light brown jacket and matching trousers. He is thought to have made off on foot in the direction of Toome Road. No description is available for the second person.

“I would appeal for anyone who saw a man matching this description in the area to contact police on the non-emergency number 101.Police are making serious efforts to apprehend those involved. Distraction burglaries are a horrendous experience for victims, but thankfully not all that common.”

Chief Inspector Magee concluded: “There are also some simple steps you can take to thwart these callous criminals. I would ask people to look out for their elderly or vulnerable neighbours or family members and share the following crime prevention tips with them.”

Think before you open the door and use your chain and spy hole or look out of the window to see if you recognise them.

Ask callers for proof of identity. Genuine tradesmen should carry a photographic identification card. Check this carefully. If you are unsure, telephone Quick Check, the special free phone service, on 0800 013 22 90. Quick Check is supported by all the main Northern Ireland utility companies and they will check if calls are scheduled for your address on that day.

Beware of callers who attempt to distract you by claiming that they have seen something untoward in your back garden or somewhere that may encourage you to leave your house - they may have an accomplice who is waiting to act upon this distraction.

If you are not convinced of the identity of the caller, don’t let them in. Ask the caller to come back later and arrange for a friend, relative or neighbour to be present on their return.