POLICE have warned residents to be on alert for kid criminals who are brazenly stealing from homes after begging owners for help.
Wagga Neighbourhood Watch’s president has labelled the scam a new low, calling for the underage perpetrators to be “named and shamed” on social media.
According to police, a group of teens aged between 13 and 15 knocked on the door of a Bradley Place home shortly after 8pm on Sunday night.
The three girls and boy begged the woman who answered the door to give them something to eat, Detective Sergeant Ryan Sheaff said.
After letting the children inside her house and going to the kitchen to heat up some food, the Tolland woman discovered they had fled, stealing two mobile phones from her handbag.
The cold-hearted case echoes similar reports on Facebook.
Tolland residents wrote on Wagga Neighbourhood Watch’s Facebook page that kids were asking to use their toilet and knocking on doors over Sunday night.
Detective Sergeant Sheaff asked for the public to report any similar cases, advising residents to exercise caution before letting anyone into your home.
If in doubt, phone the police, he said.
“Try to assess if the person knocking on your door has a genuine need,” Detective Sergeant Sheaff said.
“If it is kids, by all means do assist if it is a legitimate request.”
Wagga Neighbourhood Watch president David Abbott said he was shocked to hear kid criminals were taking advantage of people’s kindness.
“They are becoming more and more brazen,” he said.
“It’s actually a bit scary because they are almost conning you into gaining access to your house, which opens up a whole new thing because technically you have invited them in.”
Mr Abbott said if he comes across the kiddie gang he will take a photo to share online and with police.
“If it was me I would be taking a photo of them,” he said.
The Sunday night reports come barely a week after Operation Assure concluded.
The fortnight-long campaign, running for the second time this year, saw extra police patrols comb Wagga’s streets in a bid to reduce juvenile crime.
Twenty two arrests were made by police during the operation, amid community calls to make it a regular crime reducing fixture.