Distraction thieves grab Nokomis’ couple’s cash, jewelry

The suspects' vehicle caught on surveillance video.
The suspects' vehicle caught on surveillance video.

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Nokomis retiree Walt Beeman is the latest victim of the “distraction burglar” scam.

A neighbor’s security camera caught the crime as it happened.

Three men in a silver Nissan Quest pulled up to the home.

Two of the men weaved a tale about a neighbor having trees removed.

“Nothing he said made sense. He didn’t have a measuring tape. He was doing everything very poorly,” said Beeman.

As the pair spoke to Walt and his wife Jan in their back yard, security camera video shows a third man slip into their house, through the front.

The crooks gave him the go-ahead with a walkie-talkie.

“They went directly to the bedroom and they must have been in there five or 10 minutes, not very long at all” said Beeman.

The method of this rip-off is very familiar to Sheriff deputies.

“We call them ‘travelling thieves’ and we also call them ‘distraction burglars.’ It can be a mix of both” said Kaitlyn Perez, a spokesperson for the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.

The crooks prey on older victims who let their guard down.

“I just trust people. And maybe I shouldn’t. And I won’t stop trusting people. I think people behave better if you trust them” said Beeman.

A moment of distraction, and the bad guys are out in a flash.

“You think that you have this reasonable expectation of privacy, of safety in your own home. And for someone to come and violate that, it’s upsetting, it really is,” said Perez.

These thieves grabbed $100, a diamond pendant and other jewelry.

This time, it was tree trimming, but watch out for roof repairs, pool cleaning, or landscaping.

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