Police: Elderly targeted in string of attacks

January 29, 2008 4:10:04 PM PST
Police are warning residents in the south suburbs to be alert following a rash of robberies. The suspects target elderly victims. Since November 30, 2007, they have struck two dozen times in seven communities: Riverdale, Dolton, Burnham, Calumet City, Hammond, Munster, and Highland.

On Friday, an elderly couple was followed from a Hammond, Ind. grocery store to their Burnham home, where they were beaten and robbed, police said. A day later, an 88-year-old man was followed to his Burnham home from a Whiting, Ind. grocery store. He, too, was beaten and robbed.

"Apparently the suspects are staking out the grocery stores, targeting elderly and following them home," said Chief Peter Belos, Burnham Police Department.

Chief Belos issued a community alert about the incidents and urges elderly residents to be cautious.

"When they do their shopping, check their surroundings. Check their surroundings as they get in their vehicle. Check their surroundings if they're driving home. If they feel they're being followed, call 911 from a cell phone or drive to a police department or a well-lighted area. Do not go home," said Chief Belos.

"I think that's horrendous, i really do. I wonder sometimes what people think they have to do with their time," said Lotti Kudrecki, resident.

"I'll try to keep an eye on our neighbors, not too many elderly neighbors left, but we try to keep an eye out," said Jerald Jones, resident.

"My eyes will be open, and if someone wants in the building, I'm not going to thope door or anything like that," said Dollie Francis, resident.

The robberies follow as seniors in Chicago have recently been warned to not let strangers in their homes. Thieves posing as utility workers approach the elder, work their way in the home then rob the resident. In Hammond, they've also seen ten cases like that where workers find creative excuses to gain entry.