Ruse burglaries are on the rise in Joliet, and residents should be on guard for them, according to police.

A ruse burglary is where two or more people distract a homeowner, often by posing as a utility worker or solicitor, while other people enter the home and steal items of value, according to a news release from the City of Joliet.

“In the current situation, a trio of men are posing as utility workers wearing high visibility fluorescent vests, gloves and hats with fake credentials and traveling neighborhoods in unmarked vehicles,” the release said.

The burglars are entering the homes of residents by claiming they are testing water for COVID-19. The incidents are occurring between noon and 5 p.m. around the Black Road and Larkin Avenue neighborhoods.

Residents should always ask for identification when approached by anyone seeking to enter their home, police said.

“A legitimate utility or government worker will never object when you ask for identification. Do not let anyone enter your home unless you personally know them or have a scheduled appointment,” the release said.

City employees will have credentials, drive an officially-marked vehicle or wear a city-issued uniform. City officials will notify residents ahead of time if a contractor will perform service near their home, and solicitors must acquire a permit.

Residents can always contact the city of Joliet to verify a contractor, employee or solicitor in the area by calling the police at 815-726-2491, public utilities at 815-724-4220 or the city’s information services line at 815-724-4000.

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