Burglar tactic?

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surroundsaund
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Burglar tactic?

Post by surroundsaund » Tue Jul 01, 2014 10:43 am

I was recently on my way out and two very shady looking characters in a small van pulled up to my drive asking if I needed help clearing the back of my garden.

The front of my house is immaculate so not sure what gives him the impression my rear garden would be need clearing.

After a no thanks, he asks me what the time is. :?: I told him 5pm and he drove off.

Anyone aware of this tactic to dupe people into inviting thieves into their home. Certainly the first question raised alarm bells but when he asked me the time, I didn't understand that at all (if it was in the middle of London, I could somewhat understand it - you show your expensive looking wrist watch/phone, thief snatches and runs). This shady chap was in the van, he didn't get out, kept the motor running. Was it just surveillance??

Very strange.

Mojisola
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Re: Burglar tactic?

Post by Mojisola » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:00 am

It's always worth making a note of the vehicle and registration number and pass it on to the police.

arborlad
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Re: Burglar tactic?

Post by arborlad » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:16 am

surroundsaund wrote:. Was it just surveillance??

Very strange.

Almost certainly - yes..............any details you can pass to the Police, you should.

A polite but firm no, or no thanks, is the best response.

They will also try and elicit names from you by mentioning a random neighbour with an incorrect name which you innocently correct.

Make sure all your neighbours are aware of this.
arborlad

smile...it confuses people

surroundsaund
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Re: Burglar tactic?

Post by surroundsaund » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:26 am

Good advice on all counts.

I've called 101 and let them know his description and registration plate.

Not sure if they'd be interested in the neighbour's place. Its in disrepair, perhaps they want to illegally squat but I wouldn't think there is anything of value in there.

Have also let the neighbours know. Good advice arborlad.

A house a street away was burgled in broad daylight last Friday - I was even working from home that day - so I'm just that little bit more concerned.

Thanks again folks.

Rosenberg
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Re: Burglar tactic?

Post by Rosenberg » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:50 am

OR...

It could just be a couple of blokes trying to earn a crust from doing odd jobs. There are plenty of people unable to find work at the moment. And asking you the time is hardly a criminal offence. Maybe the bloke couldn't afford a watch.

From what you have said, reporting it to the police seems to be the kind of overreaction worthy of a Daily Mail reader.

When you say these men were "shady" looking characters what did you mean? Asian?

COGGY
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Re: Burglar tactic?

Post by COGGY » Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:07 pm

Hi Rosenberg

I have to say I find your remarks offensive, particularly the last comment. It is possible that the men were innocent, in which case no harm has been done. If they are not innocent then having the number plate may be extremely helpful. Possibly if your house was burgled (I am not speaking from experience luckily) you would be grateful if someone had noted anything suspicious. In this case there had been a recent burglary nearby so all the more reason to take note of anything unusual.

Regards
Coggy

surroundsaund
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Re: Burglar tactic?

Post by surroundsaund » Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:09 pm

I shouldn't think the worst in people. He wasn't of an ethnic minority or have a foreign accent.

He just wasn't the type of individual you would invite into your home albeit backyard.

I certainly hope my judgement is wrong and that is an upstanding individual looking to make ends meet.

arborlad
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Re: Burglar tactic?

Post by arborlad » Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:18 pm

surroundsaund wrote:Good advice on all counts.

I've called 101 and let them know his description and registration plate.

Not sure if they'd be interested in the neighbour's place. Its in disrepair, perhaps they want to illegally squat but I wouldn't think there is anything of value in there.

Have also let the neighbours know. Good advice arborlad.

A house a street away was burgled in broad daylight last Friday - I was even working from home that day - so I'm just that little bit more concerned.

Thanks again folks.

You've done everything right and nothing wrong - don't let a lone voice in the wilderness dissuade you from that.
arborlad

smile...it confuses people

Rosenberg
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Re: Burglar tactic?

Post by Rosenberg » Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:42 pm

COGGY wrote:Hi Rosenberg

I have to say I find your remarks offensive, particularly the last comment. It is possible that the men were innocent, in which case no harm has been done. If they are not innocent then having the number plate may be extremely helpful. Possibly if your house was burgled (I am not speaking from experience luckily) you would be grateful if someone had noted anything suspicious. In this case there had been a recent burglary nearby so all the more reason to take note of anything unusual.

Regards
Coggy
Hello Coggy,

What do you find offensive about my remarks?
-- The fact that I raise the possibility that the men might be innocent?
-- The fact that the police shouldn't be burdened with people's unfounded fears?
-- The widely held view that Dail Mail readers are small-minded, property-obsessed, neighbourhood-watching curtain twitchers?
-- That "shady" could have referred to an ethinic minority? Some people DO use such euphamisms and I don't know whether the OP is one of them without asking.

I really can't see why any of that might be offensive.

In answer to your speculation: yes I have been burgled, many years ago before I installed an alarm and CCTV. I agree that suspicious activity should be reported to the police, but people need to apply a degree of judgement before doing so. Not everything unusual or unpleasant falls into that category. And anyway, somebody "casing the joint" is hardly going to make themselves known to the owner - they would do it discreetly.

You say if they are innocent, no harm has been done. What about wasting the police's time? What about increasing the possibility that the men's old van might be stopped and searched unecessarily? Even shady looking characters might find that upsetting, inconvenient, intimidating or alienating.

surroundsaund
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Re: Burglar tactic?

Post by surroundsaund » Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:49 pm

@nothingtodowithme - He was not the type of person you would invite in from his appearance and line of questions: wanting to clear my back garden. Then the follow up question of asking what the time was which was strange is all.

I wanted to get people's thoughts on whether this was a method would-be thieves used to gain trust.

In any respect - in my view and in light of recent daylight burglary on the street - I'll lean toward over-vigilance.

Thanks all for your thoughts.

COGGY
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Re: Burglar tactic?

Post by COGGY » Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:59 pm

Hi Rosenberg

You ask:-

What do you find offensive about my remarks?

-- The fact that I raise the possibility that the men might be innocent?
-- The fact that the police shouldn't be burdened with people's unfounded fears?
-- The widely held view that Dail Mail readers are small-minded, property-obsessed, neighbourhood-watching curtain twitchers?
-- That "shady" could have referred to an ethinic minority? Some people DO use such euphamisms and I don't know whether the OP is one of them without asking.

My replies are:

1. I cannot see where it has been written that the men are definitely guilty.
2. Surely the police are competent to judge whether the information is helpful or not. They are more aware of happenings in the area than you or I.
3. This is a small minded judgement which I will not bother to address.
4. You are the only one to make this suggestion. The poster certainly did not make this point and you did not ASK if this was his intention. You SUGGESTED it, which is different.

Kind regards
Coggy

surroundsaund
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Re: Burglar tactic?

Post by surroundsaund » Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:06 pm

No apology necessary, thanks again to all.

arborlad
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Re: Burglar tactic?

Post by arborlad » Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:29 pm

surroundsaund wrote:
I wanted to get people's thoughts on whether this was a method would-be thieves used to gain trust.



Thanks all for your thoughts.

Yes, it is.
arborlad

smile...it confuses people

MacadamB53
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Re: Burglar tactic?

Post by MacadamB53 » Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:57 pm

Hi all,

I am a big advocate of the notion of the public being the eyes and ears of the police.

About twenty years ago, whilst waiting to meet a friend in York one night with my girlfriend (now my wife), I spotted a man stood, at the top of a grass bank, leaning against the city walls. It was late and it was dark. I became suspicious. My girlfriend didn't and said I was being silly. Then our friend came round the corner in the distance - as did her co-workers in dribs and drabs. The man came down to the pavement and headed away in the same direction as most of the other pedestrians. I ran over the road and phoned the local police - I just felt compelled to report my suspicions. As I caught up with my companions, about five minutes later, a stream of police cars rushed past. It later transpired the man was a serial rapist.

My reporting his behaviour wouldn't be any less purposeful had he been just innocently passing some time.

That said, I would not report every door knocker but if by "shady" you mean "suspicious" then inform the police.

Kind regards, Mac

Rosenberg
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Re: Burglar tactic?

Post by Rosenberg » Tue Jul 01, 2014 4:49 pm

COGGY wrote:Hi Rosenberg

You ask:-

What do you find offensive about my remarks?

-- The fact that I raise the possibility that the men might be innocent?
-- The fact that the police shouldn't be burdened with people's unfounded fears?
-- The widely held view that Dail Mail readers are small-minded, property-obsessed, neighbourhood-watching curtain twitchers?
-- That "shady" could have referred to an ethinic minority? Some people DO use such euphamisms and I don't know whether the OP is one of them without asking.

My replies are:

1. I cannot see where it has been written that the men are definitely guilty.
2. Surely the police are competent to judge whether the information is helpful or not. They are more aware of happenings in the area than you or I.
3. This is a small minded judgement which I will not bother to address.
4. You are the only one to make this suggestion. The poster certainly did not make this point and you did not ASK if this was his intention. You SUGGESTED it, which is different.

Kind regards
Coggy
Hello Coggy, you seem to be putting words into my mouth - or misunderstanding what I said:

1. I didn't say anyone had written they were definitely guilty. I just pointed out the possibility that they might not be guilty, because (until that point) everyone else seemed to have been overcome by a degree of mass hysteria.

2. You might judge that the police are competent. Some people might disagree. Some people might think they are already busy dealing with real criminal activity and don't want their limited resources stretched by having to deal with the public's baseless worries.

3. It is not my judgement. I was alluding to the judgement of the populus (a least those with an IQ greater than 70).

4. You are wrong about that Coggy. I really did ask a question - the clue is in the QUESTION MARK at the end. As I said before, the reason I asked is that the OP didn't make his/her meaning clear. The word "shady" is vague and ambiguous. Perhaps that is why it is so beloved of the popular media, such as - dare I say it - the Daily Mail. Given the OP's rather OTT reaction to being asked the time, the specific meaning that I queried seemed to be a distict possibility. I don't think my question was at all unreasonable or offensive.

I hope that clarifies everything. If anyone wants to make further criticisms, feel free, but please do me the courtesy of reading my posts properly first. I am quite happy to argue about what I have actually said, but not about what you THINK I have said. Misrepresenation of posts seems to be a nasty habit on this forum.

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