On May 26, 2021, it was reported to the Kennett Square Police Department that at approximately 11:45 AM, an unknown male parked his pickup truck in a driveway in the 200 block of Oak Avenue. The male exited his pickup truck and loitered around the back yard and back door to the home for approximately 15 minutes. The homeowner reported that the male left after noticing that the homeowner had security cameras.
Neighborhood interviews were conducted by the reporting officer. Another homeowner in the 100 block of Oak Avenue reported that the male entered the driveway of that residence on foot and upon seeing the homeowner, asked the homeowner about needing driveway refinishing. After declining the service, the male entered his truck and left the area.
At this time, there have been no reports of fraud, scam, or burglary. It is unknown what the intent of this male was when he was caught on camera. The behavior and patterns of his actions, however, are indicative of one committing a Gypsy Scam or Distraction Burglary.
The term "gypsy" as it pertains to gypsy scams in law enforcement refers to people who travel in small groups across the coutnry perpetrating crimes of fraud, theft, and burglary. Gypsy scams are incidents that occur in daylight hours, in which the suspect will walk right into someone's home for the purpose of stealing jewelry or money, often with the homeowner home or near the home. They are typically non-violent in nature and usually run from the residence if discovered. If discovered, they will often make up an excuse for why they are there. The best way to prevent this type of theft is to lock your doors and install security cameras.
Popular gypsy scams include driveway seal coating scams and contractor fraud. Driveway seal coating is when the suspect approaches a homeowner with a claim of having left over coating material and contract to seal the homeowner's driveway. Once paid for, the suspect sprays a cheap oily material on the driveway and leaves before the fraud is discovered. Contractor fraud occurs in a similar manner with the contractor contacting the homeowner either by phone or in person. They will agree to work for a price far below what you'd expect to pay for the service and will often require you to pay in advance.
Distraction burglaries occur when a homeowner is approached by someone, often times a contractor, city worker, or utility employee. That person will engage the homeowner and keep them occupied while an accomplice enters the home and steals valuable items they can rapidly obtain such as cash, jewelry, or electronics.
The bottom line, don't hire anyone without doing your due diligence on their company and don't pay for services upfront without work being completed. As with any suspicious circumstance, call the Kennett Square Police Department immediately via 911.