El­derly scammed by ‘school fundrais­ing’

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By ELESHA ED­MONDS

Po­lice are warn­ing of door-knock­ing school­girls who are scam­ming the el­derly of money and steal­ing from their homes.

Girls aged 10 to 13 have been vis­it­ing the homes of the el­derly in groups of three pre­tend­ing to fundraise for school or church trips.

Avon­dale-Water­view neigh­bour­hood polic­ing team head Sergeant Tim Lock­wood says there are re­ports of the girls per­suad­ing el­derly home­own­ers to in­vite them into the house and then us­ing the op­por­tu­nity to steal valu­ables such as wal­lets and jew­ellery.

‘‘Two of the girls will dis­tract the home­owner such as singing to them,’’ he says. ‘‘While the third asks to use the bath­room or some­thing and then takes what she can find.’’

There have been sev­eral re­ports of the scam this month, with two thefts re­ported in Pt Che­va­lier last week.

Five of the re­ported in­ci­dents have been in the Block­house Bay area be­tween Tay­lor St and Whit­ney St through to Wolverton St.

They all have sim­i­lar pat­terns so could be con­nected, Lock­wood says.

He says it is a com­pli­cated mat­ter as some of the vic­tims have given money to the girls with­out re­al­is­ing it was a scam.

‘‘We had one case where some girls sang to an el­derly woman and she gave them money,’’ he says.

‘‘The vic­tim has then spo­ken to fam­ily mem­bers who were con­cerned and con­tacted the po­lice.’’

Lock­wood says the vic­tims have all been in their late 80s or 90s.

‘‘The el­derly are more vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple,’’ he says.

‘‘So­ci­ety was a lot more trust­ing but un­for­tu­nately those val­ues they hold aren’t the same to­day.

‘‘The younger gen­er­a­tions would in­quire more and ask more ques­tions.’’

The girls usu­ally ar­rived on foot so they seem to be lo­cals, Lock­wood says.

The of­fend­ers of­ten say they are fundrais­ing for an Avon­dale Col­lege trip. ‘‘They haven’t been in uni­form. ‘‘We ap­proached the school and they came back to us and said they weren’t fundrais­ing.’’

Lock­wood ex­pects there have been other in­ci­dents that haven’t been re­ported to the po­lice.

Photo: NI­COLA MUR­PHY

Sergeant Tim Lock­wood warns the el­derly to be wary of school­girls pre­tend­ing to be fundrais­ing.

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