A rash of burglaries and attempted burglaries involving a ruse about an "outbreak of snakes" has arrived in San Mateo County, according to a press release by San Mateo city officials, which states:
A recent San Mateo burglary follows a criminal trend that has been seen regularly, and most recently in the East Bay. This is very typical of a common two-suspect “distraction burglary” technique - one of the suspects makes contact with one of the residents either at the front door, or in the back yard. The contact suspect distracts the victim through conversation or through a demonstration of their “services.” During this time, a second suspect enters other areas of the victim’s home and searches for and takes valuables.
August 27th, about 4:50 pm – 400 Block of Alameda De Las Pulgas in San Mateo:
An female suspect adult knocked on the victim’s door and identified herself as a City of San Mateo employee working for "pest abatement". The suspect stated there was an "outbreak of snakes" in the immediate area and she needed to check the inside of the home. The victim let the suspect into the victim’s residence. The suspect then asked for everyone in the residence to come outside so she could show them where she needed to set snake traps. The RP felt uneasy and escorted the female suspect out of the home. The suspect left the residence on foot in an unknown direction of travel. Nothing appeared to have been taken from the home.
The suspect in this case was described as Female, 30 years, 5’2”, 120lbs, Blonde hair, and a nose piercing, in a tan hat and uniform. The victim was unable to discern the race of the female suspect.
Similar incidents to this have been reported in Burlingame, Fremont and Union City.
The suspect is described as a Hispanic woman between the ages of 35 and 45 years old. She was wearing a navy blue baseball hat with the word "City" across the front. She had short blonde hair under the cap - but the victim believes it was likely a wig.
The suspect was also wearing a dark green work shirt with an unknown round patch on the left chest. She also had nose and lip rings, and a tongue piercing, police said.
Contact San Mateo Police Department if you have any information:
SMPD Investigations - 650-522-7650
Secret Witness Line - 650-522-7676
Text Anonymously - 650-262-3473
If you are the victim of a similar scam, or have received a call that you believe might be one of these scams, please report these crimes to San Mateo PD at 650-522-7700
As always, if you need emergency assistance, please dial 911.
SAFETY TIPS –
Be aware of the following:
• Follow your instinct. If you feel something is not right with the situation, contact SMPD right away. Contact SMPD by “911” or by 650-522-7700 if you have any problem with solicitors that makes you suspicious or uncomfortable.
• You have no obligation to open your front door to solicitors. Criminals may also prey on empty homes when nobody answers the door, so a firm verbal response from behind your door that you see them out there but you are not interested should make them leave. If it doesn’t, call the police.
The following information applies to people representing themselves as any type of utility workers:
Members of the public can always check with the utility company represented before allowing a worker into their home –
San Mateo’s Public Works Department can be reached at 650-522-7300 during the day, or 650-522-7350 after hours.
Cal Water can be reached at 650-558-7800 to verify local work being done – all of their employees carry Cal Water ID. http://www.calwater.com/
Customers are encouraged to call PG&E's customer service line at 1-800-PGE-5000 to verify an appointment and/or PG&E's presence in the community.