Strangers asking for directions may be burglars in disguise, Beaufort police say

achristnovich@islandpacket.comAugust 30, 2012 

Lindsey Jones

  • To report a suspicious incident, call the non-emergency dispatch number at 843-524-2777.

Think twice before offering neighborly help to lost travelers, Beaufort police warn. It might be your valuables, not directions, the strangers seek.

A woman was charged Tuesday in connection with a rash of property thefts in the Mossy Oaks area, the Beaufort Police Department said, but officers still are warning residents to be suspicious of strangers.

Lindsey Jones, 20, of Beaufort confessed to stealing lawn equipment and household goods from unlocked sheds and homes, Deputy Police Chief Dale McDorman said Thursday. Most of the thefts occurred in broad daylight.

Articles stolen from inside homes probably were taken after Jones knocked on doors to see if residents were there, McDorman said. If a resident answered, she simply asked for directions or made up an excuse for why she was on the property.

"It's a common tactic in a number of places," McDorman said.

Jones was charged with three counts of petty larceny, obtaining goods under false pretenses, attempted burglary, six counts of second-degree burglary and three counts of third-degree burglary. McDorman said the department is still investigating because several other unsolved thefts in the area could have been committed by Jones or others using the same tactic.

The police department's Facebook page advises residents to note the appearance, direction of travel and vehicle description if a stranger knocks.

McDorman said no suspicious incident is too small to report -- details about people or vehicles could help crack a case.

"Call us. It's our job," McDorman said.

Follow reporter Anne Christnovich at

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