Orland Park police are warning residents to be on the alert if people come to their house and say they're workers "from the county."
Tuesday's warning comes after a string of so-called "ruse burglaries" in Orland Park and Palos Park in late October and early November. Ruse burglaries involve criminals distracting homeowners while accomplices head inside and steal property.
In one case, from Oct. 28, a man told an Orland Park homeowner he was there to "clean up the ditch" behind the house, and the homeowner went with the man to the backyard.
"A few minutes later the homeowner's wife yelled to him from the back door that there were two strange men in the house," Orland Park police said in a release.
The men fled to a gray van and took off, police said.
Police said two similar ruses happened in Palos Park. In one case a man told a homeowner he needed to check out the property line in her backyard.
"The offender said he would retrieve some property line markers from his truck and never returned," police said. "The victim walked back inside her home and found her front door open and boxes of jewelry open."
Orland Park and Palos Park police, along with the Illinois State Police Ruse Burglary Task Force, were able to identify offenders in both the Orland Park and a Palos Park case. Six were taken into custody by the task force on Nov. 13 and charged with residential burglary.
One of them, Stanley Miller, was identified in a physical line-up on Nov. 14 as the suspect in the Oct. 28 Orland Park incident, police said. Miller, 32, of the 3100 block of North California Avenue in Chicago, was charged with residential burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary. His bond was set at $25,000.
The Orland Park Police Department sent out tips for residents to prevent ruse burglaries, including checking IDs for anyone claiming to be a state or local worker.