Nassau advises residents to be aware of 'distraction burglaries'

Nassau County police cars in Syosset on Dec.

Nassau County police cars in Syosset on Dec. 28, 2013. Photo Credit: Jim Staubitser

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If an unknown and unexpected contractor, surveyor or utility worker drops by and suggests you go out to check something in your yard, better first ask to see identification -- and give it a close look, Nassau County police said Tuesday.

The visit could be part of a scam in which burglars, posing as contractors and other such types, divert homeowners while accomplices enter the home, said police, who report a series of such "distraction burglaries" in the county.

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Police said there have been three of these types of burglaries in Nassau since Thursday -- one each in Syosset, Herricks and Westbury, police said. Two of the victims were elderly, police said, and all of the homes were targeted during the early-afternoon hours.

The department is expected to release composite sketches of the suspects Wednesday, a spokeswoman said.

Besides checking identification -- and all Nassau County employees carry photo identification, police said -- residents are advised to keep doors and windows locked even when they're home; set the burglar alarm even if they're stepping out only briefly; and stash valuables, including cash and jewelry, away in less overt places than, say, the kitchen counter.

With Candice Ruud

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