Deputies search for SUV, thieves after distraction burglaries

Thieves take Lakeland man's priceless possession
Posted at 8:33 PM, Jun 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-26 07:51:02-04

The Polk County Sheriff’s office is warning homeowners after a string of distraction burglaries.  


Eighty-five-year-old David McClelland says he was sitting inside his Lakeland home last Wednesday when a man pulled up to his yard in an SUV.  


He invited the man into his home where the man told him he needed to make repairs to his roof. 


McClelland says he was a bit suspicious, but kept talking to him and even let him lead him outside where the man asked about his truck. 


While he popped the hood, two other people made their way into his home. 


McClelland’s son was inside his room at the time and heard people, but thought it was his dad. 


The people got back into the SUV and the man told McClellan that they needed to go. 


McClelland went into his bedroom where he noticed his late wife’s jewelry, including the last ring he purchased for her before her death was gone. 


Deputies received a similar report just two days later in Lake Wales. 


The victim there told deputies he was lured outside by a man who said he wanted to talk about trimming his trees. 


The man had a handheld radio where he let his co-conspirators know the coast was clear. 


While he kept the homeowner distracted, the two others took off with thousands of dollars' worth of jewelry. 


That homeowner says the suspects, two men and a woman were in a white Dodge Durango SUV.


There have been a handful of distraction burglaries around the area in the last few months. 


The Sheriff’s office urges homeowners to not let anyone inside their homes even if the people appear to be from a legitimate business.