Burglars get sneaky with 'abuelitos' in Coral Gables, Miami

Police want homeowners to beware of fraudsters luring them to backyard


CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Men posing as construction workers or landscapers are looking to distract your "abuelitos," so their accomplices can burglarize their home without hurting them, police said.

The Coral Gables Police Department and the Miami Police Department said they have seen a growing number of "distraction burglaries" that are "targeting the elderly" and may be connected.

The burglars have reportedly used an older gray Ford F-150 pickup truck, a white shiny work van or a light blue Toyota van. Victims have described the distractor, as a clean shaven man, 40 to 50 years old and weighing about 200 pounds.

In a case in Coral Gables, a man wearing silver chains and earrings said he was a tree trimmer working for a neighbor. He said he needed the homeowner to come to the backyard, because he had cut some wires by mistake.

In a case in Miami, two men -- one clean shaven and another with a full beard -- told the victim they worked for the city and needed to check water from the faucets for contamination.

The burglars have also offered pressure washing or sprinkler service to lure their victims to their back yards, while the front door stays open.

Police were asking the public for help. Anyone with information should call police or Crime Stoppers at 305-471-6160.