Fake House Cleaners Hit Homes in Upscale California Neighborhood

A ring of burglars posed as house cleaners in California, police said.

ByABC News
September 15, 2014, 9:27 AM

— -- Two women are believed to have helped steal tens of thousands of dollars from homes by posing as cleaning people in California, police said

Surveillance video shows two women knocking on doors in the upscale California neighborhood, purportedly offering their services as maids.

Police allege that the would-be housekeepers are really part of a burglary ring now hitting some of the wealthiest communities in Los Angeles.

Officials said that if no one answered when the women knocked at the door, the women would then call their male accomplices, who would break in.

Surveillance video from inside a Bel Air home shows men ransacking the living room in broad daylight. The men took cash, electronics and passports, police said. The homeowners told police that the thieves also ripped a safe from the wall, making off with up to $40,000 worth of property.

Officer Sally Madera said five suspects were involved.

“If we can identify who these people are they could be directly linked to other crimes,” Madera told KABC.

Posing as service providers is not an uncommon tactic. A man was arrested in Orange County, California, in August after he posed as a delivery man to get into home and allegedly rob residents at gunpoint before leaving them bound in zip ties.

And in 2012, a Miami woman’s Valentine’s Day was ruined when a fake flower delivery man pulled a gun and robbed her.

To keep themselves safe, experts say, people should always ask for credentials from delivery people or other service workers who come to their home.

“Have adequate lighting outside, or windows, obviously, if you live in a house, to physically see who is out there to begin with,” Brad Garrett, a former FBI agent and ABC News analyst, said. “I even recommend that people have some sort of speaker system.”