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Police warn of 'distraction burglars'

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Sheriff’s department says roving criminals, known as ‘travelers,’ have been preying on people in Grayson County recently

By Staff Reports

INDEPENDENCE — The Grayson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating three recent distraction thefts, according to Sheriff Richard Vaughan.

The sheriff is requesting citizens to be on the lookout for two white males and one white female in a light blue or silver four-door sedan with a Georgia license plate.

“These subjects are typically known as roving travelers, because they travel up and down the East Coast in the spring and fall preying on their victims,” Vaughan said. “Travelers use many different types of scams, depending on their surroundings. They may offer to make home repairs or improvements, pose as a utility worker or surveyor, pretend to be delivering a package, asking for directions or claiming to be searching for a lost pet, but with the same end result – stealing valuables from their victims.”

Suspects are targeting the elderly during the day time in the remote parts of the county and surrounding counties.

Vaughan described how the travelers operate: “One suspect knocks on the door and distracts the homeowner, many times luring them outside, while the other suspect enters the residence undetected. The third suspect usually stays behind with a walkie-talkie as a lookout while your jewelry, money and prescription drugs are being stolen.”

The sheriff said he hopes sharing this information will help foil the travelers, if people know what to look for.

If a suspicious incident occurs, Vaughan said to report it immediately to prevent others from being victimized. “It is especially important that victims do not let their embarrassment about falling for a ruse keep them from reporting the crimes.”

He cautioned citizens not to let their guard down, even if the person knocking on the door is female or has children in tow. “This is another strategy for getting residents to relax their guard.”

Last week, Vaughan sent out an alert for citizens to be on the lookout for a small, light blue or gray car with Georgia tag PER3848. The vehicle’s driver was described as a white male, 5’8” tall, with brown hair, wearing a ball cap and sunglasses and tan shorts. He was reported to have a speech impediment.

Police said the suspect went to residences talking to homeowners about buying land, while another subject entered the home from the back and stole multiple items.

Descriptions of the other suspects were not available, other than they were a white male and white female.

They were last seen Sept. 18 around Whitetop Gap Rd. in the Whitetop community of Grayson. Vaughan said the sheriff’s office received two reports that day.

In one case, a woman’s purse was stolen.

Until the subjects are captured, the sheriff said that, if someone comes to your door that you do not know, do not let them in. If you think the person is suspicious, call the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office immediately at (276) 236-9988 or (276) 773-3241