Teens described as well-groomed, polite targeting elderly Waldo residents in crimes dating back months

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Grandmothers in Waldo have become a target for thieves, as police are investigating a series of burglaries dating back to September that all have the same M.O.

The elderly victims say these thieves look like teenagers who are polite and well-groomed, striking up conversations to earn the victims’ trust.

“It`s so sad just to, all of a sudden, you don`t feel safe,” said Louise, an older woman who has lived in her Waldo neighborhood for more than a decade.

But Louise now feels on edge in her own home, after witnessing three burglars break into her next door neighbor's house in broad daylight.

“I have the dogs and I feel okay with that,” she said, “but if they approach with a gun or something, shoot me, don`t shoot my dogs! So it`s frightening!”

Louise, who uses a wheelchair, said her two watch dogs started barking around lunch time a few days ago.

She went outside to investigate and came face-to-face with one male teen who claimed they were next door to do some yard work. He then asked her if she'd like to use their services.

“I knew that they had no interest in doing yard work,” Louise said. “I mean, it was obvious.”

It was about that time her neighbor came home and caught the crooks in the act. But they couldn't stop the teens from running off with cash, jewelry and valuables.

“Well they don`t have any respect for anything, even themselves,” Louise said, “so I’m not surprised anymore.”

Police said break-ins with similar M.O.s have hit other parts of Waldo – once last week and another time back in September.

In both those cases, a male teen offered to do yard work, made his way inside and asked for a glass of water so he had time to steal their purses. Both victims were elderly women who were scared to show their face.

“Pretty soon I noticed there was something wrong,” said one of the victims, who asked FOX 4 not use her name, “and I needed to get rid of him, but I didn’t want to antagonize him too much because I knew he could overpower me.”

Police say the encounters haven't turned violent. But they want people to be aware so they don't fall victim to the same ruse.

“A lot of people are doing a lot of things now, money is a problem for a lot of people, including us,” Louise said, “and people just are trying to get whatever they can, so be aware of what`s going on.”

Police believe these crimes could be related and have their eye on one 19-year-old male who was charged with burglary just last year.

However, no arrests have been made yet. So if you know anything, call Crime Stoppers at (816) 474-TIPS.

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