PC Kirsty Rusbridge, from Operation Manhunt, Hertfordshire Constabulary’s specialist unit which investigates distraction burglary and other crimes which target the elderly and vulnerable, said: “We are linking these crimes and believe that they may have been carried out by the same offender however, we are keeping an open mind at this stage of the investigation.
The first incident occurred in the St Albans Road area on Wednesday, July 26 between 4pm and 4.15pm, when the victim – a man aged in his 70s - was outside his property and the offender said he was from the council and needed access to the back garden to prune a neighbour’s tree.
Once in the garden, the offender said he could tidy up in return for payment. He was asked to leave which he did however, sometime later the victim realised that the back door key was missing and the bedroom upstairs had been searched.
The offender is described as a white man, aged in his late 30s of medium build, balding and spoke with an Irish accent. He was wearing a jumper with a colourful hoop pattern on it.
The second incident occurred at the same home on Saturday, August 12 at around 4.20pm when the offender entered the kitchen via the back door. He told the victim - a woman aged in her 80s - that he was there to speak about the burglary.
The victim, who was on the phone at the time, told the offender that the police were on their way. The offender then grabbed her handbag and emptied it dropping items on the floor before running out of the front door.
The offender is described as a white man, who was dressed in black clothing.
“I’m appealing for anyone who saw a man matching the descriptions in the area on the dates stated to get in touch, as you may have information that could assist our investigation and help us to identify the offender.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to remind people of our crime prevention advice in relation to distraction burglary:
“If you are not expecting anyone and you don’t recognise them, don’t let them into your home. Try to communicate with the caller without opening the door and ask them to return at a time when you have someone you trust with you.
“If a person you are expecting comes at the time you have arranged, ask to see their identification before you let them in.
“Never keep large amounts of cash at home. Put your money in an account where it is safe.
Anyone with information that could assist our investigation is asked to contact PC Rusbridge via the Hertfordshire Constabulary non-emergency number 101, quoting crime reference C4/17/2147