Mission police are warning of a new and somewhat unusual scam that involves the theft of ladders from unsuspecting homeowners.
Since Saturday, Mission has had two reports of thefts that prey on the neighborhood trust and friendliness, said Mission Police Capt. Dan Madden. In both cases, a middle-aged white male knocked on the door of the home and asked to borrow a ladder. He identifies himself as the son of a neighbor down the street and he needs the ladder to help his parent with a project.
The victim, Madden said, obliges the request and brings the ladder, which is never returned, to the victim. Mission’s first report of the theft was Saturday in the Countryside neighborhood near 61st and Woodson. The second report was Monday in the Milhaven neighborhood south of Shawnee Mission Parkway.
“It ruins the whole perception of what makes these communities great,” Madden said, because it takes advantage of the neighborly spirit.
Since Mission notified other police agencies of the thefts, Madden said, Overland Park responded that it had several similar cases in the northern part of the city.
The description of the suspect is similar enough to believe it is the same person. One victim described him as medium build with shaggy blond hair and no facial hair. He may be wearing painter’s-type pants and driving a Buick.
At the first house, the suspect made off with a 24-foot extension ladder. The homeowner’s parents were visiting and answered the door, handing over the ladder when asked. At the second house, the suspect had a long story about the project with which he was helping his family and took a 6-foot ladder. He is not believed to have entered either house.
It is not known what he is doing with the ladders after the theft.