Burien Police: Thieves dress up in work clothes as disguise during home burglary

BURIEN, Wash. -- Police are warning homeowners about a growing scam thieves are using to break in to your home.

The King County Sheriff’s Office says more burglars are wearing disguises to look like maintenance men, construction workers, or package carriers.

A burglary suspect, dressed in a reflective vest, was captured on Ring App video outside of a home off 13th Avenue Southwest in Burien.  Police say the thief or thieves broke into the home and got away with jewelry, cash, and other valuables.

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In her garden, Erika Dubois finds peace and tranquility in the Seahurst neighborhood of Burien she’s called home her whole life.

“This is our home and a place that we want to stay forever,” said homeowner Dubois.

But Monday morning, that comfort was interrupted by an abrupt phone call from her husband.

“It was about 10:30 in the morning and he said we had been robbed,” said Dubois.

And when they walked through their front door…

“We saw every cupboard, every drawer, every bookcase, every basket, every furniture was overturned,” said Dubois.

The thief or thieves went through everything, grabbing anything they could.

“They took my son’s change jar, all of my jewelry, camera equipment, iPads, anything small they could get their hands on,” said Dubois.

Police say they fled through the back of the house out of a gate that leads to the Seahurst woods, where transients are known to stay.

“They were packing food, they were taking bags of soap, they were taking toiletries. It leads me to believe that it was a homeless person,” said Dubois.

Their doorbell camera captured the suspect in a work vest.

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“They’re using that to make the neighbors say, 'OK, they’re just here doing some kind of work' and, in reality, they’re the ones breaking into the house,” said sheriff's Sgt. Ryan Abbott.

Usually when someone is wearing this bright vest they’re trying to stick out, but police say more and more burglars are using disguises like this to blend in -- so no one questions what they’re doing in your neighborhood.

“Even if it’s a neighbor’s house and they knock on the door and they go around to the back, be extremely suspicious of that and call 911 right away,” said Abbott.

Dubois hopes this is a warning to her neighbors.  After their sense of security was stolen, even simple things like making dinner don’t feel the same.

“The feeling of my son not wanting to stay home and then him wanting me to lay with him because he doesn’t even feel safe in his own home? You just can’t replace that,” said Dubois.

Police believe the homeowner startled the burglars, so they left behind bags full of mail, passports, and other important documents they planned to steal.  Luckily, the homeowners were able to find both dogs they think the burglars kicked out of the house during the crime.  Police say workers should be wearing badges and you can always call their companies to make sure they’re supposed to be there.

If you think you know who the suspect is, you’re asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.