A number of thefts at offices in Tysons Corner have officials concerned that criminals are posing as professionals to gain entry into businesses for devious pursuits. The recent increase in the number of thefts at offices has prompted McLean police to issue alerts to the community.
This type of criminal is known as a “tailgater” because he follows people back from the lunch crowd and blends in. “They are dressed in business attire and work their way into areas of the office where people put purses under their desk or wallets in a drawer,” explained McLean Police Lt. Dan Courtney.
The criminals then make off with cash and credit cards, said Courtney. “There’s the potential for identity theft with this. Identity theft is very serious. It happens here quite often because this is a fairly good-sized metropolis,” said Courtney.
“That doesn’t make me feel very safe. If they are coming right into my office now, I guess I’ll have to lock my purse in a drawer or something,” said office worker Laura Yoder. That reaction is exactly what police officers are hoping for. “People need to be more aware of their surroundings and their possessions in the workplace,” said Courtney.
Police urge people to call the non-emergency number if they encounter a suspicious person, or to contact building security immediately. “Don’t wait until after,” said Courtney.
The police are trying to get information on what the suspects look like. During robberies on Greensboro Drive in Tysons, there were several witnesses after the fact. In one case, when confronted, a suspect insisted he was at the location for a job interview and fled before police arrived. “Some of them are pretty brazen,” said Courtney.
At one tailgating theft on Greensboro Drive, three victims had their belongings pilfered by thieves. “In this case, an employee encountered the suspect. He targeted jacket pockets, unlocked file drawers, etc., for wallets, cash and credit cards. When the suspect passed an employee, he waved and said, ‘Hi.’ Nothing was seen in the suspect's hands,” stated Courtney.
One of the suspects in the Greensboro thefts has been apprehended. “We just made an identity on one individual. He was locked up in another jurisdiction,” Courtney said.
However, police believe the tailgating is likely to continue unless citizens are vigilant about their surroundings and their personal belongings. “These people are looking for a crime of opportunity,” explained Courtney.