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Added Feb 22 2012

My mom read a police pamphlet today, about not opening your door to strangers, asking for ID, etc.

At 5:30 PM, she proceeded to open the door to a stranger with no ID claiming to ask where she wanted cement bumps poured in the alley. He walked with her through the house & out the back, stalling her while asking many questions.

Of course, he'd left the front door ajar, and accomplice ransacked her house in about 7 minutes.

She's called the police and filed a report. Is upset because her wedding rings & jewelry were stolen, and tomorrow is the anniversary of my dad's death.

I told her to check all the locks on the window, because sometimes the thieves unlock them to get in later.

In her heart, my mom believes all people are good. Intellectually, she knows better. But she continues to follow her heart.

  • Wow, that's really upsetting. I'm so sorry for your Mom. Thank you for the warning though. I'd not heard of that scam before.

  • justbabs chgo lifer - now in pp

    Oh Anna, I'm so sorry. There is nothing worse than knowing your Mother was taken advantage of - nothing. They'll get theirs. Bad karma has a way of working its way around.

  • It is very hurtful to hear.

    Before my mother in law passed away, my wife was pregnant. She said that since she probably would not live to see the child (Cancer) she wanted to leave something very special for her, so she can say that she gave her something. It was a watch that was engraved that she received on her wedding day from her husband (wife's dad, also passed). She never wore the watch and it was always cherished. My wife could not wait for my daughter to get older to give it to her and tell her it was grandma's special watch and she wanted her to have it.

    The house was burglarized and that was one of the items taken along with other sentimental stuff as well.

    My wife was simply devastated

    I completely understand and sympathize on so many levels.

    I hope that the police are able to catch and prosecute the people responsible and hope that they are able to recover what was most sentimental.

    It has been several years and we have not heard any updates on our case.

    God bless

  • Heather C. Dog Lover

    I am so sorry to hear this. My friends live just a few doors down, I will have to let them know immediately.

    Again, so sorry. This just makes me so angry!

  • Ron Miller I'm the local sales Rep w/ADT security

    I'm very sorry to hear that. With the way the economy is people are getting more and more desperate.

  • Mama B NW side lifer

    That is just awful. Be thankful that she is OK. That is most important.

  • Anna, I am so sorry to hear that. We often hear about scams like this via email, etc., but never really know if they are true. This being so close to home is scary. We really appreciate you taking the time to post this so that we can all be alert and aware.

    While they did get away with sentimental possesions thank goodness she wasn't hurt with them in her house.

  • Ugh........I'm just disgusted! Glad your mom didn't get harmed. I keep telling myself that just maybe these thieves are down and out and just trying to survive in todays economy and not some drug fiending criminals too lazy to earn their own keep, but my faith is diminishing......wishing for kharma on behalf of your mom. Be safe and stay diligent (I never would have thought to check the windows in case they return). Perhaps they'll try and pawn the jewelry at one of the local pawn shops?

  • Nor64 28 year resident of PP.

    Aw, poor thing. That is very scary but thank God she didn't get hurt. Make sure she answer the door for no one. I am younger then your mom probably and I never answer the door if I am home by myself. Too many idiots out there.

  • Sue Portage Park-er

    So sorry for your mother. Thank you for posting, this is blocks from my house and it is so disturbing to know a neighbor was preyed on and taken advantage of in this manner.

  • OldIrving Anna on a quest for craft brewed "zimne piwo"

    Thanks for all the kind words. These scams are as old as the hills, and target older people who are more trusting. My mom was a CPL librarian for 20 years, and she's well aware of various schemes. Like everyone else, she assumed it wouldn't happen her. Just grateful she wasn't hurt.

    Her first tip off should've been someone posing as a city worker ringing her doorbell at 5:30 PM, after quitting time. So, unless it's Ald. Cullerton (who works all hours) knocking on your door, don't open up!

  • Kirsten

    I'm so sorry this happened to your mother, but thank you for sharing the info so others in the community can be aware.

  • Lynn OIP Resident / CPS Mom

    Oh, Anna, sorry to read this news. I'm grateful she wasn't hurt but just continually disappointed in the state of the human condition. Seriously, what is wrong with people?! Like Kelly said, hoping these thugs get their come uppance eventually. I like the idea of tracking down the rings via pawn shops.

  • Mitch Stein IT Nerd in Avondale

    My family has been trained to turn away anyone who does not have an appoinment. This is just one more reason why every stranger who comes to my door gets photographed.

  • Heather C. Dog Lover

    Monkey - How do you manage that? Is there a security item that you can purchase that does that?

  • Mitch Stein IT Nerd in Avondale

    Yep. It's just a security storm door. When I open my front door, there's still a door that I can talk through that prevents outsiders from being able to get in. I hold up my cell and snap their picture and then point to my "No Solicitors" sign. I've only had one person run from the camera so far. I ran out there and got in front of him so I could get him on camera. His was the picture I wanted most. He didn't have an answer to the question "If you're on the up and up, what are you afraid of?"
    As a woman, I'm not sure I recommend chasing down visitors, but I haven't needed to unlock my door to photograph 95% of my unwanted guests. I also haven't feared reprisal, since they know that their picture goes to the police if something happens.

  • NinnyMuggins your neighbor

    Monkey, I agree with what you do, but I'm ascared to do that. Has anyone ever said, "You need my permission to photograph me here in Illinois, and you don't have it."

  • Mitch Stein IT Nerd in Avondale

    It would take serious guts to step on my porch and tell me not to point a camera out my front door. I'm willing to take that risk. I admit it's not for everyone. I don't see my local beat cops writing me a ticket for possibly handing them a lead later.
    I am recommending the security door, no solicitors sign, and policy of not opening the door for any stranger without an appointment as a start. If these folks want to solicit me anonymously, they should spam my email box like everyone else.

  • @Ninny - I believe that according to law, people should have no expectation of privacy if they are in a public place. I would think standing outside on someone's porch qualifies as public, if it isn't their own porch (remember Google Earth?).

    Especially so if the resident of said porch is taking photos of them, not the other way around!

  • Babette: That is usually true - that in public you can afford no expectation of privacy and it is usually legal to photograph someone, but Illinois is especially draconian in that respect and they definitely do not like you recording police officers here - I wouldn't want to test that law, the police tend to ask questions later.

  • @Charles - ha ha, yes. It's bizarre that it would be illegal to record ANYONE doing something illegal, isn't it? When someone steals from you, you practically have to catch them in the act and record it for it to stand up in court. Yet somehow this outrageous law stands - for now. There are some challenging this successfully, so I'm hoping it will be rescinded.

    I studied a little IL media law so I stand by my earlier statement. Unless the solicitors are moonlighting police officers using illegal tactics (lol), MonkeyPi should be perfectly within her rights to photograph anyone coming to her door.

  • time to buy a gun

  • Mitch Stein IT Nerd in Avondale

    If the mom in the original story had purchased a gun, the burgler would have sold it by now into the hands of a criminal. If you reread the original story, you may find yourself agreeing that she didn't need anything more than a little more caution. I am in no hurry to live in a world where everyone brings a gun to the front door.

  • caution is not opening the door for someone you don't know, especially with everything going on in this neighborhood.

    i usually don't open the door for anyone I don't know but if I do i have a weapon in my hand behind the door frame. it is my risk that i choose to take.

    you assume the worst that the burglar would get the gun away.
    how about if she bought a gun and was trained as responsible gun owners do she could have held the burglar for police or shot him and got another criminal off the street. It could even be a stun gun or taser . Tasers are approved for home defense and you just need a foid card

    guns are not only for the bad guys
    i see your point mp and agree with you, but if she is going to open the door for strangers she should have a way to defend herself.

    hopefully she will not open the door for anyone
    she doesn't know.

    maybe less people would be hurt or killed in home invasions if someone had a gun.

    if burglars' and home invaders start getting shot while burglarizing or invading places maybe there will be less burglaries.... well maybe at least less from the ones that got shot.

    again, could be stun gun, taser, mace gun, tear gas gun or other self defense item.

  • Maria Jeff Pk resident

    "maybe less people would be hurt or killed in home invasions if someone had a gun." I believe the opposite true. What if this old lady had a gun. would she have shot the burglars, then they'd be hurt. or worse she'd be wrestled and hurt herself. It's a terrible thing to have happen to this lady, no doubt, but as an older woman myself, it's not as bad as what could have happened. thankfully this lady lives to see another day.

  • maria, obviously you do not open the door for strangers and let strangers in your house... if you do, i just recomend that you have protection

    good people have guns and there is nothing wrong with it it is a constiutional right to bear arms

    if she shot the burgular and they got hurt... good for her

    too many good people get hurt

    A lot of people will call these elderly people and mothers below heros.

  • chicago girl Resident in Portage park for over 38 years

    So sorry to hear this.It makes me so mad when people prey on elderly people.I hope they get caught once and for all.Thanks for making us aware of this.

  • It is nice to see that elderly people were able to protect themselves, but not sure that a gun is right for everyone.

    They would have to live with knowing they killed someone, not everyone can do that, even if they are bad people.

    I agree to a point with Inactive that if you are going to put yourself in a compromised position that you do have some protection. Pepper spray can be used and will only temporary hurt someone with the intention of running away or calling police.

    There have been a lot of people killed in home invasions so I could understand how someone could be so vigilant in seeing it continue to happen and might want to see it stop.

    I also agree with Inactive that people have a right to bear arms and that there are good people with guns....

    All the good people that I know that have guns are called POLICE.

    Let's try to keep it that way

  • just letting people know they have the right to defend themselves, I think that alot of people forget this at times.

    i am not here to fight anyone

    maria, i commend your statement and see its validity.

    good people have the right to bear arms and it does not make them bad people

    if it is not for you so be it i am not here to convince anyone either way but you have the right and the choice to do so.

    there are times in which a gun saved people from being killed, good people and people should know that and be opened minded

    individual results may vary

  • OldIrving Anna on a quest for craft brewed "zimne piwo"

    @inactive--that's MY mom you're talking about. She DOES know better than to open the door to strangers, and is kicking herself for being so stupid and gullible.

    She LIVED through WWII in Poland, through many massacres. She LIVED through gang warfare on our block & in our Humboldt Park neighborhood in the 1960's & 70's. Unharmed. By using her common sense. And she knows she has the right to bear arms. But having seen, firsthand, so much bloodshed, she prefers to kill them with kindness.

    I posted here to give people a heads up, because we all think we won't fall for a ruse. The best weapon is using our wits and common sense.

  • Angela librarian, mom, cyclist, rocker, homeowner

    So sorry to hear this, Anna. Thank you for sharing an awful story to benefit others in the community.

  • anna, you are right using our wits and common sense is the best weapon, but not the only one.
    i am sorry for what happened to your mom, and i don't blame her for anything, but if....if she is to let a stranger into her house again she should be ready for them. that is all i am saying.
    hopefully she will not open the door for anyone she doesn't know.
    i am posting here also to let people know, if they put themselves in that situation, they should have some protection.
    you don't have to agree, but what i am saying could protect your mom. you make it seem like i have an ill intent, but there are a lot of home invasions and good people are getting hurt and killed. i don't want that to happen to your mom or anyone. bottom line if you are going to open the door for someone you don't know, have some sort of protection.

  • Maria Jeff Pk resident

    In 2010 - the latest year for which detailed statistics are available - there were 8,775 murders caused by firearms!. That is shocking to me.Compare that to countries where having a gun is illegal - UK, Ireland, Spain etc, it speaks for itself. Arming the elderly (like myself) is not the answer - more guns = more problems, in my opinion.. This lady was lucky she didn't put up a fight. I, the thought of what may have happened had she confronted this young, able bodied , healthy young man - lets face it he could over power her in seconds. The "hero grandmas" you mention make the news. Hundreds of others don't because they weren't so lucky.

  • maria, out of the hundreds you say post a link one in which an elderly person had a gun and they were overpowered and killed by an assailant.

  • Mitch Stein IT Nerd in Avondale

    Thanks to all urging a little common sense, restraint, and desire to live in a world where you don't take a package from the FedEx man with one hand while pointing a gun at him with the other. It's heartening to see so many on the same page here. I'm proud to count you all as my neighbors.
    I'm unsubscribing from this thread.
    @Inactive - You may want to reconsider not only your user name but also your statement "i am not here to convince anyone either way"

  • "but you have the right and choice to do so"

    it seems like mp cut off the rest of my statement

  • Sorry to hear this. Never let a stranger into your home.

  • AoifeSineadRonan babysitter & JP resident

    So sorry Anna - I agree with maria - more guns whether in the hands of the well intended or not are never the answer. A criminal with a gun to his face is going to attempt to get a hold of that gun. My thoughts & prayers are with your mom at this time.

16 neighbors are subscribed to this conversation.

Posted to Ward 38

This was posted to Ward 38

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