Police warn residents after distraction burglary in Winter Haven

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) — Police in Winter Haven are asking residents to be alert after a distraction burglary last week.

Police say a Hispanic man went to a home on Thompson Nursery Road on Feb. 9 and knocked on the front door. When a woman answered the door, the man said he needed to speak to her husband. The wife told him her husband was asleep but says the suspect was persistent about needing to talk to him immediately about the property line of a home for sale next door.

After the husband went to the backyard with the first suspect, police say a second Hispanic man came to the door and told the wife she needed to talk about the property too and took her to the opposite side of the backyard, away from the woman’s husband and the first suspect.

The husband says he got suspicious when he noticed the two suspects were on walkie-talkies. He then started walking to the front yard and saw a third suspect walking toward a white Dodge Ram pickup truck. The husband says it looked like the suspect was coming from the direction of his front door.

Police say the other two suspects then quickly got into the truck and drove off.

When the husband and wife went back inside, they found a jewelry box had been ransacked. They say about $10,000 worth of jewelry had been taken.

Winter Haven Police Chief Charlie Bird says this burglary is similar to ones that have occurred around Polk County recently. He is asking residents to be aware.

“I want to implore residents to be very aware of people coming to their homes and trying to convince them to step outside,” he said in a statement. “If a visit is unsolicited, do not step outside with them and under no circumstance should they be allowed inside no matter how convincing the story is.”

All three suspects are described as men between 25 to 30 years old. One suspect is about 5’8″ to 5’10” and weighs about 175 pounds. The second is about 5’4″ to 5’6″ and weighs about 175 pounds. The third is 6’2″ to 6’4″ and about 270 pounds.

The homeowners say they tried to get a tag number on the white pickup truck but the tailgate was down and there was carpet draped down covering the tag.

Anyone with information is asked to call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS.

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