Police at Tel Aviv Central Bus Station 370.
(photo credit: Ricardo Mallaco)
A gang of thieves dressed up as various officials and tricked elderly people
into handing them keys, which were then duplicated and used to break into
hundreds of apartments, police in Rishon Lezion said Sunday.
suspects are under arrest following an undercover investigation into a wave of
home robberies over the past year.
After receiving a string of burglary
complaints, the Rishon Lezion police’s Crime- Fighting Unit began mapping out
the offenses according to geographical area and the methods used to break into
The team of detectives quickly realized that the same gang was
behind the breakins, and that its members were duplicating apartment keys to get
into the properties, most of which are inhabited by the elderly.
choose a location, carry out a check to see if it is empty or they lead the
home’s occupants out, and then proceed with a quiet break-in and steal
valuables,” police spokeswoman Leah Zohar said.
Stolen goods include
jewelry, cash and checks. The thieves disguised themselves as police officers,
municipal workers, post office employees and healthcare officials to get hold of
keys for duplication and lead the elderly victims out of their homes ahead of
Undercover officers staking out the suspects arrested two
men as they entered a home with a duplicate key on Friday.
suspect, the getaway driver, was arrested soon afterwards just outside the
“The suspects have a criminal record of past
break-ins,” Zohar added.
Police searched the suspects’ homes and
recovered thousands of shekels in cash, as well as key duplication
“We ask senior citizens to be on the alert for these type of
incidents. You should not give identifying details [such as addresses and phone
numbers] or keys to your home or vehicle to any person without a clear reason,”
Anyone claiming to be a police officer, municipal inspector
or mail official should be asked to produce a photo ID, and their details should
be written down, police added.
“We ask any resident of the area who has
encountered this type of incident to come to a police station and file a
complaint,” police said.