Burglars posing as tree trimmers steal from Wichita woman

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Officer Steve Jerrell with the Wichita Police Department Officer Steve Jerrell with the Wichita Police Department
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Wichita police are warning residents to be on guard after two people posing at city tree trimmers stole from a homeowner. 

After a stormy last couple of months, it's not uncommon for tree trimmers to be working in neighborhoods. Police say there are plenty of reputable businesses out there, but to never trust anyone without seeing identification first. 

Patti Garnett says she hadn't ever had anyone suspicious come to her door in North Riverside. That's why she was shocked when she heard what happened right across the street. 

Her elderly neighbor got a knock at her door last weekend. Two people claimed to be city workers and said they were there to trim trees around her home. But instead, they snuck into her backyard and stole from her. 

"Gives you second thoughts," Garnett said. "You better think about your own security and whenever you're talking to people you don't know."

The two did not have any sort of identification to prove who they were. 

"Everybody should have an ID. If they're a city worker, Westar worker, Kansas Gas, etcetera, AT&T, Cox Communications, all of them should have IDs," said Officer Steve Jerrell with the Wichita Police Department. 

One of the burglars distracted the woman while the other went around the back of the home. 

Police say no one in the area street had security cameras, which they say are becoming more and more important. 

"We were talking about possibly looking into getting a Ring camera system, and I don't know, it's really beneficial...motion sensors and everything," said neighbor Katie Brown.

The elderly victim's neighbors say they've always looked out for each other, and now they will even more. 

"It's really scary to think that somebody could do that," Brown said, "especially because she is such a nice lady and she does so much for the community."

If someone comes to your door and claims to be a worker, always ask for identification. If they don't have an ID, don't be afraid to call police immediately.