Police are searching for at least two people who stole high-end jewelry from a home in South Redondo Beach on June 7 in a distraction burglary, according to the Part I Crime Recap released by the .
One of the thieves—described as either a Hispanic or black man in his 30s standing 6 feet tall with a medium build—posed as a city worker and took the person at the home into the back yard of a residence in the 500 block of South Gertruda Avenue.
While they were outside, one or more people entered the residence and stole high-end jewelry and watches, including a Rolex and a Bertolucci, police said.
Redondo police Sgt. Shawn Freeman said these distraction burglaries are not new to the South Bay.
"Unfortunately, these types of crimes have been going on for decades," he told Patch.
In a news release sent earlier this month, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power warned consumers to be aware of the crime. Apparently, thieves have been posing as utility service workers, distracting residents as their partners search the home for valuable items to steal.
"Distraction burglary is an important issue for us, but the good news is, this form of victimization is easily preventable," said Patrick Findley, Director of LADWP Security Services Division in a press statement. "The more our customers know about it, the less likely it is to happen, so help us spread the word among your family, friends and neighbors."
Impostors aren't just posing as utility workers—they're also pretending to be tree trimmers and roofers, Freeman said. "Today, it's the Department of Water and Power. Tomorrow, it's tree trimming."
The victims are often elderly, he said, noting that over the weekend, he gave a presentation on this sort of crime at Assemblywoman Betsy Butler's Senior Fraud Prevention Town Hall at the over the weekend.
"Be suspicious," he said. "If (you) see something, call the police ... especially if you have a neighbor who's elderly...
"Call the police and and let us know. Let us check it out."
The Redondo Beach Police Department can be contacted at 310-379-2477.