Traveling or Gypsy Criminals
Spring is here and for those of you who are new to Nichols Hills, whether residents, employees or merchants, our community is often the target of what we have come to call “ traveling or gypsy “ criminals. They travel throughout the U.S. and prey on affluent communities. There are a few things that everyone can do to prevent being a victim, or prevent someone else from being a victim.
If you are a resident:
- When you leave your house, make sure the doors are locked and the alarm is set. Make sure that anyone who is staying at home knows not to let strangers into the house for any reason and to dial 911 if someone just walks in the door. The criminals have been known to drive through the neighborhoods watching for people to leave their homes, even if it is just for a walk in the neighborhood. As soon as you are out of sight they try your front door.
- Keep your doors locked even if you are at home. Even if you are working in the yard or flowerbed, keep your garage doors down and your kitchen door locked. Again, the thieves will drive through the neighborhoods looking for people working in the yard at the side or back of the house. They will enter through the garage/kitchen door and burglarize your house. It happens every year, and by the time you discover the loss they are gone and you never saw them.
- Lock valuables in a safe and don’t leave cash or jewelry on the counter, dresser or bathroom or kitchen sink. Many people report missing jewelry after having workers in the house for various reasons. Lock your valuables away.
- Notify the police of suspicious people in you neighborhood. All solicitors are required to have permits with the exception of political or religious and legitimate charities such as boy/girl scouts. If your house is posted “No Solicitors “no one can solicit. Notify the police on anyone claiming to be soliciting for any reason and let the officer determine if the solicitor is legitimate. There have been reports of officers not being dispatched on religious/political organizations. Contact the police chief if this should occur. Officers should be dispatched on every request to verify solicitors are legitimate.
If you are a city employee:
- Watch for someone letting suspicious people out of a car in the middle of the street. Gypsies often drive into a neighborhood and let several women out to canvass the area by going door to door checking to see if the doors are locked. If they find an unlocked door they go inside and take cash and jewelry, place it in a pillowcase and walk out the front door where they will immediately be picked up. If they unexpectedly find someone else in the house, they will make up a story about being in the wrong house. Notify the police if you see what you consider to be suspicious people or vehicles. Many times the vehicles will have out of state tags.
If you are a merchant:
- Find a place to lock your purse or billfold. Do not leave a purse in an unoccupied office or lying behind the counter. Notify the police of people you believe to be suspicious and if it is safe, try to copy a tag number when the person/people leave. There are several groups of thieves working in the metro area. Two or three women walk into a store where one clerk is on duty. One of the women will get the clerks attention while the others get into the clerks purse and take a billfold and credit cards. They leave the purse and the theft is discovered sometime later. If they ask to use the restroom, make sure your purse or other valuables are not in danger.
If you are in Nichols Hills call 911 for assistance and you will get the Nichols Hills Police Dispatcher. If you have any questions contact Chief Mask, Major Arnold or Det. Cox at 843-6170 or 843-6180.