It’s June, we are entering prime garage sale season, and a new gang of bandits is taking advantage of local residents.
The bandits, described by victims as two males and one female, all in their early to mid-20s, have hit at least 5 garage sales so far. In each instance they have made off with loot. Estimates of the theft values range from $10 to $1500.
The thieves have a set method that they employ at local garage sales. Each time, one of the males and the female will try to distract the person(s) hosting the garage sale while the remaining male looks for items to pilfer. On one occasion garage sale hosts reported items missing from inside their house, suggesting that the thieves were able to gain entry to the home.
The thieves have used a variety of techniques to distract garage sale hosts. So far, citizens have said the thieves use the following diversionary strategies:
- Fake seizures to draw attention
- Show garage sale hosts the latest funny videos on YouTube
- Start arguments about the 2nd amendment
- Shout “holy cow, would you look at that!” and point in another direction
- Break items that are for sale and make a big fuss about helping clean up the mess
- Buy a small, inexpensive item and pay with heaping handfuls of pennies
- Start arguments about the 1st amendment
- Start a conversation about the Reds bullpen
- Fake trip on something and spill drinks on people, requiring cleanup
It is said that once one of these tactics is successful, one or two of the thieves will shoplift items from the garage sale or even slip inside the home of the host undetected. Items reported as stolen so far have included jewelry, electronics, pet food, undergarments, and in one case, a velvet painting of Elvis Presley.
Authorities have issued a set of tips that may help those holding garage sales avoid becoming victims of these savage fiends.
- Keep all valuables secured in a locked container inside the home
- Work the garage sale in groups of two or more
- Frequently make verbal and eye contact with guests of the sale
- Don’t have garage sales, sell stuff on eBay and Craigslist
- Hire armed security guards and/or vicious Rottweilers to guard the sale
- Set booby traps throughout the garage sale
If you or someone you know has been a victim of a garage sale heist, reach out to us to tell your story.