More cities on both sides of the Bay are reporting sightings of burglars impersonating animal control officers on the hunt for poisonous snakes.
Belmont police said they received reports on Thursday of two burglaries, one occurring between 5 and 5:30 p.m. on the 300 block of Chesterton Avenue and the other around 6 p.m. on the 900 block of Chevy Street.
In both cases, a female suspect posing an animal control officer contacted residents, Captain Patrick Halleran said.
In the first case she said there was a snake infestation, and that she needed to check the yard and set traps. In all, she kept the resident and his teenage son distracted for around 30 minutes while other suspects entered the home and took several hundred dollars in cash.
In the second case, she told the resident a neighbor's snake had escaped and again lured the resident into the back yard.
The female suspect in the Belmont burglaries was described as a Hispanic female adult in her 30s, around 5 feet 6 inches tall with a stocky build and light brown or dirty blonde hair and a lip piercing. She was wearing sunglasses, a khaki work shirt and khaki pants and black work boots.
Similar reports were made on Friday in the American Canyon area of Napa County.
In that case, the female suspect was described as a Hispanic adult 20 to 30 years old, around 5 feet 6 inches tall with a medium build and bleached blond hair and blue eyes. She was wearing a navy blue shirt with a collar and a baseball hat with hair tucked inside.
A male suspect accompanying her was described as a Hispanic male adult 20 to 30 years old, around 5 feet 4 inches tall with a medium build and black hair. He was wearing a blue shirt and referred to himself as "Mr. Reynolds."
Similar reports were made in Burlingame and San Mateo on Tuesday and in Fremont last Saturday.
No police departments or animal control officials are investigating any infestations of snakes or snake-related problems, officials said.
Animal control officers and police officers are required to carry with them governmental photo identification cards. Police are advising residents to ask to see photo identification of a person claiming to be an officer. Beware of solicitors at your door, as this is a common ruse to see if anyone is home, according to police.
Residents who see suspicious activity are being urged to contact police immediately.