A man in a high visibility waistcoat and a yellow hard hat stole cash from a man in his 90s after turning up in his home and asking the pensioner about work to his chimney.
The PSNI are appealing for information about the distraction burglary.
Detective Sergeant Dave Stewart said: “We received a report just after 2pm that around 30 minutes earlier a man wearing a yellow hard hat and a high-vis waistcoat over a pale blue shirt had called to a house on Circular Road and asked the male occupant about work to his chimney.
“The occupant, a man aged in his nineties, said he needed to make a phone call to check this. As he turned away to make a phone call, the suspect stepped into the man’s hallway and told him he would need a deposit. The man then reached for his wallet and the suspect took it from him and took the money that was inside it. The suspect told the man he would write him a receipt and would need a pen. The man went to get a pen but when he returned, the suspect had fled with his money.”
The Detective Sergeant continued: “The suspect is described as having spoken with a Southern Irish accent, believed to be aged between 45 and 50 and around 5’6” to 5’7” tall and of a stocky build.
“A second male was seen in the vicinity of the house, on the main road, however, he did not approach the property.
“This was a despicable and brazen act carried out in broad daylight at the home of a man in his nineties; a place where this man should rightly feel safe.”
He added: “I want to appeal to anyone who was in the Circular Road area yesterday prior to, or after 2pm and saw a male, and saw a man matching the description of the suspect to call us. I would also appeal to anyone who saw any suspicious activity, including any vehicles in the area or who knows anything about this crime to phone detectives in Musgrave on the non emergency number 101, quoting reference number 636 of 27/03/19.
Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”
Detective Sergeant Stewart also had some advice for people to avoid becoming victims of this type of burglary.
He continued: “I want to take this opportunity to remind people to treat with caution unexpected persons who come to your door.
“Bogus callers use many guises. They may offer to do work around your property. Other callers may seek to gain entry to use facilities.
“When your attention is distracted an accomplice may enter your premises via an unlocked door to steal cash and items of value. Often you will not be aware this has occurred until they have left.
“Genuine callers will carry I.D. Please ask them to provide their I.D. documents for your inspection before permitting entry to your home.
“I would also urge people to be aware of any neighbours or relatives that may be potentially targeted in this way.
“Please, pick up the phone and report any activity that raises your suspicions to police immediately. This is a good way to alert us so we can investigate and will help deter criminals and reduce crime in your area.”
He added: “Call us on the non-emergency number 101.”