FREMONT (CBS SF) – Burglars are gaining access to residents’ homes by claiming to be animal control officers looking for poisonous snakes, Fremont police said Monday.
A resident of Moore Drive contacted police on Sunday to report that her home had been burglarized after a woman came to her door stating that she was looking for a poisonous snake that had gotten loose and bitten a little girl on the street, according to police.
The victim said the woman, who arrived between 5 and 6 p.m. on Saturday, said she was from animal services and needed access to the backyard to take measurements for traps. While in the yard, the suspect asked that everyone in the house come outside.
It was only on Sunday that the homeowner realized that a second, male suspect who was with the woman and was posing as her supervisor had entered the home during the visit and removed cash and jewelry, police said.
The female suspect was described as a white or Hispanic woman around 5 feet tall with a medium to heavy build and a pierced tongue. She was wearing a hat, dark-colored gloves and a tan or brown short-sleeve button-down shirt with patches on the sleeves.
Earlier on Saturday, residents in the area of Hillview and Montecito drives in the Niles neighborhood had reported a similar incident in which two women were going door to door.
The women—one of whom matched the description of the suspect in the Moore Drive incident—told residents they were animal services employees investigating reports of loose rattlesnakes and pythons in the area, and needed to measure yards for traps, police said.
In a third incident, a suspicious woman was seen going door to door in the Niles area. She did not mention any poisonous snakes, but did ask a resident if she was selling a vehicle and said she was a single mom in a bad relationship, according to police.
The woman was seen leaving in a gray or silver Land Rover with a magnetic sign in the back similar to one seen during the burglary on Moore Drive.
Police said similar incidents were also reported in Union City last week.
City officials have clarified that Fremont animal services personnel are not looking for any loose snakes or handling snake-related problems anywhere in the city. Such employees are required to carry city-issued picture ID cards and must drive city of Fremont vehicles clearly marked with the city logo.
Residents are advised to check the ID of anyone who shows up claiming to be a city employee, and to call police if anything seems suspicious.
Suspicious people or activity can be reported by calling (510) 790-6800.
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