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Beware the "Sorry, wrong address" line

Updated February 25, 2011

Cerritos Sheriff's deputies work hard to make the City a safe place to live and work. Clear evidence of this is their continuing efforts to reduce the residential burglary rate in every part of the Cerritos community. Although no one should let their guard down, residents should be glad to hear that residential burglaries declined during the first six months of this year by approximately 42 percent compared to 2013 figures (although there was a spike in cases last month).

While Sheriff's deputies intend to keep the pressure on residential burglars as the year progresses, residents are encouraged to do their part as well. It is not feasible for patrolling deputies to keep a close eye on more than 15,000 homes located over eight square miles. Deputies need the help of alert residents who will quickly call the Sheriff's dispatch center at (562) 860-0044 whenever they see suspicious people or cars in their neighborhood. As our Community Safety Division staff is always reminding people, and as emphasized in last month's newsletter, If You See Something, Say Something.

A good example of this occurred last month as deputies were investigating a burglary on Bertha Place. When deputies canvassed the area, they located a nearby resident who most likely spoke to the two burglary suspects earlier in the day. According to the individual, at approximately 11 a.m. his doorbell rang and he answered the front door. Upon opening the door, he observed two young men whom he did not know and did not recognize from his neighborhood. Upon seeing the resident, one of the men immediately stated, "Sorry, wrong address," and both turned and quickly left. When the resident's neighbor two houses away came home a few hours later, he found his residence ransacked and thousands of dollars in jewelry stolen.

This is the classic strategy used by "knock-knock" burglars who can be found in just about every community in Southern California and who periodically prey on Cerritos residents. They work in teams, may be male or female, and are often members of urban street gangs. When someone does answer the door, the would-be burglars claim to be looking for a lost dog or a person the homeowner has never heard of, or they will offer some other ruse. This common technique is simply to determine if anyone is at home and, if they are, the burglar has a rehearsed response ready. However, if no one answers, the burglar goes through or over a side gate (sometimes the front door is kicked open), pries open a rear window, lets his or her accomplices inside the home and quickly ransacks the place.

If you see someone on your neighbor's property who you are pretty certain doesn't belong, or if you answer your door and get the "Sorry, wrong address" line, be suspicious, be observant and remember, If You See Something, Say Something.

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