An elderly couple who live on First Avenue in Hellertown were recently the victims of a burglary that possibly could have been prevented with proper precautions, Borough Police Chief Robert Shupp told Borough Council members Oct. 3.
According to Shupp, the couple fell prey to two men who employed a simple ruse in order to distract them while they were in their own home.
When one of the men came to the back door of their home, Shupp said, he distracted the residents by talking to them about home repairs, while his accomplice entered the residence through the front door and proceeded to steal jewelry and other items.
Shupp emphasized that this type of crime is not common in Hellertown, but urged residents to take common sense precautions in order to prevent themselves from being victimized.
In the first place, he said, no one should come to a resident's door to discuss home repairs without a permit, which is required in Hellertown.
If someone comes to your door without a permit, he said, it's a good idea to call the police department or 911 to report it.
Only a few peddler's permits have been issued this year, he added.
Secondly, Shupp urged residents to keep their doors locked.
If a door is locked criminals will typically "move on to the next house," he said.
Lastly, he asked neighbors not to hesitate to call police to report anything suspicious.
In this particular instance, Shupp said a neighbor observed one of the men carrying a pillow case that actually contained items stolen from the home, but failed to alert authorities in a timely manner.
"It was unfortunate for the elderly couple who lost a lot of money and valuables," he said. "If you see something that looks out of the ordinary please call us."
The chief added that more information about this type of crime will be discussed at the next Hellertown Police Department Block Watch meeting, which will be held at Borough Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 7pm.