Several burglars posing as city employees have burglarized at least nine San Fernando Valley homes over the past year, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Known as "distraction burglars," these thieves pose as city construction workers or Department of Water and Power employees, and they work in teams to approach residences and distract their inhabitants.
As the burglars lead their victims to the backyard or into another part of the house -- ostensibly to check wires or address technical issues -- another member of the team will slip into the residence and steal valuables, officers said.
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Police released four sketches of suspects in a May 2 alert warning residents of the string of crimes.
The recent incidents have taken place in the Foothill Station's patrol area, which includes Pacoima, Sunland-Tujunga and Lake View Terrace. But similar burglaries have also occurred elsewhere in the San Fernando Valley and on the Westside, LAPD Detective Hector Guzman said.
The North Hollywood, Van Nuys and West Los Angeles stations have also reported distraction burglaries in their patrol areas, Guzman said.
Guzman said he can not confirm that all of the robberies are connected, since different victims have described different-looking suspects.
"We’re trying to get any information," Guzman said. "Some [of the suspects] are the same, some are different."
Still, the alert released last month by the LAPD said “on multiple occasions, the suspect introduced himself as 'Jerry.'" In addition, the alert said suspects communicated with each other through cell phones or walkie-talkies.
Of the six burglary incidents mentioned in the alert, all the described suspects were male. One was described as Hispanic, three as white, two as "other" and one as unknown.
Guzman said investigators do not yet have any leads on the identities of the robbers.
Detectives advised residents not to let anyone enter their homes without first confirming their identities.
Individuals with information about the distraction burglars should contact Foothill Station detectives at (818) 834-3115.