Rash of ‘distraction burglaries’ underway in Bergen County

WOOD-RIDGE, N.J. — The Bergen County Prosecutor's Office is warning residents not to fall for a scam that is increasing across the county: burglars posing as town inspectors, handymen, utility workers or even police officers.

There have been over a dozen reports.

A fake water utility worker pushed his way past a 94-year-old woman to get into her home just a few days ago in Wood-Ridge. Her son said the intruder held her in her basement while another person stole $500 upstairs. She tried to get to a phone to call a neighbor for help, but he stopped her.

This happened on Cliff Street at around 2 p.m. on October 3.

Similar stories have been reported in Lyndhurst, Garfield, Waldwick, Palisades Park and other towns pinpointed on a map by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office. They say the elderly are most at risk.

"Utility workers wear clearly marked uniforms and carry identification. They also drive marked vehicles," says the advisory, "if you have a loved one who lives alone or who is elderly, make sure they understand this!"

Investigators believe the burglaries could be related.

If you are suspicious about a public worker who is trying to gain entry into your home, call police.