Elderly scammed by ‘school fundraising’
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.
Sergeant Tim Lockwood warns the elderly to be wary of schoolgirls pretending to be fundraising.