Police ask Putney residents to be vigilant of 'fake' 24hr locksmith
Local police are warning residents of a repeat of what they believe is a sophisticated scam being used by burglars to target homes in the borough. A similar sticker scam appeared in 2013 in Putney.
The police believe that burglars are using accomplices to identify vulnerable properties in the borough and then marking them out with discreet plastic stickers.
In 2013 The Evening Standard discovered a similar sticker in North London was for a legitimate locksmith based in Cricklewood.
The number on the stickers showing up in Putney, Fulham and Barnes is different from 2013. PutneySW15 called the number, which is live (unlike in 2013) and connects to a call centre. The call handler explained that he emails the company the details of all phone calls that come through. We emailed the emailed the address he gave on Wednesday asking the company for more details and a comment that their sticker is believed to be a signal for burglars - we have not received a response.
Detectives believe the scout is sent to an area to look for homes that may be easier to burgle. The belief is that he or she calls at addresses to see if people are at home during the day. This also gives them the chance to get up close to doors and windows and check out how good the locks are.
If the scout thinks the home would be easy to break into - he or she leaves a sticker on the door. If they are stopped by the police they can claim to be innocently distributing marketing material for the locksmiths firm.
Residents in Putney have reported that every house on their street had been 'stickered' whereas one resident found her house was the only one in a block of 30! A member of the Thamesfield SNT team said: “We have several intelligence report to say the sticker is being used as a reconnaissance tool for residential burglaries.”
June 19, 2020