Lawrence Township police are urging residents to be on alert after two homes on Johnson Road were entered Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 26) by burglars who walked in through unlocked doors.
One of the burglars, upon being confronted by a resident at one of the homes, excused himself by claiming he had mistakenly entered the wrong house. At the other property, the same burglar and a partner pretended to be water utility contractors.
Township police Lt. Charles Edgar said it was about 2:15 p.m. when an elderly resident of Johnson Road called police to report that she had just confronted a man she did not know on the second floor of her home.
The woman told police she had heard noises upstairs and, going up to investigate, had found the stranger in her home, Edgar said. When the woman asked the man who he was and what he was doing in her house, Edgar said, the man claimed he was doing work in the area. The man then calmly exited the house, after which he and his partner ran off out of sight.
The partner, police discovered, had been distracting the elderly woman’s husband in their backyard, having convinced the husband that he was doing work at a neighbor’s house and needed to examine a fence on the property line, Edgar said.
He said the residents were still trying to determine if anything had been stolen from their home.
Police officers canvassed the area but were unable to locate any suspects. But as police were investigating the incident, they learned that one of the burglars had, a few minutes earlier, entered another house next-door.
In that case, after he walked into the house and was immediately confronted by a teenage resident, the burglar claimed he was looking for a house that was for sale and must have gone to the wrong address. He excused himself and left.
The man that entered both homes was described as being white, between 45 and 60 years old, over 300 pounds, with gray hair and gray stubble on his face, wearing a plaid shirt, black pants and a baseball style cap. The other man was white, thinner, and wore a hard hat and reflective yellow jacket.
Anyone with information about the identities of the men is asked to call township police at (609) 896-1111.
Similar diversionary tactics have been used by burglars in the past. Edgar urged residents to be wary of strangers who try to distract them away from their homes. He urged residents to call the police immediately when they notice suspicious vehicles or people going door-to-door in their neighborhoods.