Fake official steals from 90-year-old

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Detectives are trying to track down a burglar who pretended to represent the Housing Executive in order to steal from a 90-year-old.

The distraction burgarly took place on Saturday morning (September 20) at the elderly man’s home in Barna Square, Rathcoole.

A man called at the 90-year-old’s door at around 10am, claiming he was from the Housing Executive and that he was there to check the water.

It is believed he stole a sum of cash while in the property.

The suspect is described as being aged in his mid 20s, approximately 5’10” tall, of slim build with short fair hair. He was wearing a t-shirt and was carrying a clipboard and had a pass with his photo on it.

Detective Inspector David Skelly has appealed for the public to come forward with any information that might help police with their investigation.

“I ask anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the area or who knows anything about this incident to contact us in CID at Newtownabbey police station on the non-emergency number 101.

“Or if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Housing Executive’s South Antrim area manager Sharon Crooks said: “Tenants should be extra vigilant as bogus callers are on the increase and theft is usually their aim. These bogus callers will frequently claim to be from a public body like the Housing Executive or a contractor.

“Residents should not allow anyone to enter their home without proper identification.”

The Housing Executive is currently carrying out a survey in the area, but tenants will have received notification by letter in advance of a visit.

The area manager added: “Our staff and contractors, and those from other public bodies will have a photographic identity card.

“Check this carefully, if they have forgotten their ID card they will understand if entry is refused.

“If you are in any doubt at all, take no chances, 
and refuse entry. Only a bogus caller will insist on 
entry without proper 
identification.

“If you have a door chain or spy hole - use it, or look out of the window. Alternatively, call us on 03448 920 900 to check the caller’s details if they claim to be from the Housing Executive or you can also phone ‘Quick Check’, on 0800 013 22 90, a 24 hour free-phone service to check the identity of the caller.”

Head of Customer Services at NI Water Liam Mulholland advised: “It is unusual that someone claiming to be from NI Water will call to your door.

“If, however, this does happen, simply call our customer helpline on 08457 440 088 to confirm with staff whether the person is in fact genuine.

“Don’t be afraid to check the ID. Genuine callers won’t mind waiting while you do. NEVER allow anyone access to your property unless you are sure of who they are,” he said.