RPPD Alerts Public To Attempted Distraction Burglaries

The Roselle Park Police Department (RPPD) has received several confirmed reports of individuals attempting to convince residents to allow entry into their premises.

According to police, in each case, an unknown male approaches the home ringing or knocking on the front door. The perpetrator then gives an excuse for the need to enter the home, either to check on the utilities to avoid a potential problem (i.e. water leak or gas leak) or – in one case – attempt to convince the resident to exit their home to look at another part of the property; the roof or the backyard for example.

In another case, the suspect wanted to enter the home to look for an incorrectly delivered item. In all cases, alert residents did not allow entry and closed the door then notified police.

It is not known at this time if the incidents are related.

In the cases of the utility worker, the male was wearing an orange or brightly colored vest, In another incident, the male was wearing a lanyard or neck chain with ID or official-looking utility credential to making it appear they are legitimate. A male was dressed in casual clothing in yet another incident.

“We recognize that there has been large amount of utility or construction projects going on throughout the borough,” stated Police Chief Paul Morrison, “Observing legitimate utility workers working on our streets and around our homes has become commonplace causing your guard to be down but we urge all residents to be extra attentive to any suspicious vehicles or behavior by anyone regardless of their attire or clothing. Scammers and criminals use these activities to make their activities appear legitimate. Call the police to alert us [to] the location of the suspicious activity. We will immediately verify any of your concerns.”

RPPD advises residents on the following tips:

  • Do not allow any person you do no know into your home.
  • Do not allow any person to convince you to exit your home to check on another area of your property.
  • Do not open the door to unexpected visitors without first looking through a window or locked storm door.
  • If possible have your phone in your hand when you answer the door to an unexpected visitor.
  • Call 9-1-1 in an emergency or use the non-emergency line at (908) 245-2300 if you observe suspicious activity anywhere.’
  • To verify the permit status of canvassers or door to door solicitors contact police at 908-245-2300.
  • If you have security cameras or doorbell cameras confirm they are working and perform any maintenance or updates, as necessary.
  • Contact or find out who your Neighborhood Watch Leader is in your neighborhood.

RPPD is actively investigating these incidents and encourage everyone watch out for each other. Many of these actors prey on the elderly who may live alone. Please pay special attention to your elderly neighbors if and when you see what appear to be contractors or out of the ordinary visitors at their homes.

Any resident with information can contact RPPD’s Community Policing Unit to find out other ways to keep yourself and neighbors safe. The contact information is available below:

General Inquiries: police[@]roselleparkpd.org
Patrolman Gregory Polakoski: gpolakoski[@]roselleparkpd.org
Lieutenant Manuel Jimenez: mjimenez[@]roselleparkpd.org