With warmer weather approaching and the time of year when many residents are outside working in their yards, comes warning of opportunistic thieves and burglars looking to victimize the public.

Detective Lt. Greg Johnson of the Portage County sheriff's office said no reports have yet been taken in Portage County, but Summit County police have reported burglars taking advantage of elderly residents by pretending to be surveyors, utility workers or salespersons.

The suspects will approach people working outside in the warm weather, often posing as utility workers, surveyors interested in trees on their property or contractors interested in looking at basements or water systems.

While one member of the typically two-person team -- often one male and one female, Johnson said -- will ask the owner to show them leaks in the basement, trees at the back of the property or other parts of the home, a second subject will enter the residence and steal items of value, Johnson said.

"The female typically makes first contact," he said. "We haven'' had any in Portage yet, but last year it wasn't long before we started having a few" similar crimes.

The warmer weather this month may have contributed to the scams starting early, Johnson said.

Utility workers typically will be driving marked vehicles, wearing uniforms or be willing to show proper company ID, he said. He encouraged anyone who feels uneasy or suspicious about a visitor, solicitor or salesperson showing up unannounced or uninvited to call their local police department or the sheriff's office by dialing 911 or 330-296-5100.

As always, with potential scams or crimes, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

"If someone shows up unexpected, that should get your radar up," Johnson said.

Email: dobrien@recordpub.com

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