Scam artists targeting yard sales in Denver area

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DENVER -- Yard sale scam artists.  Sound far-fetched? It's happening in the Denver metro area.

Now that the warmer months are here, there will be a lot more yard sale signs hanging on street corners. But if you're seeing them, so are potential thieves who have already hit unsuspecting neighborhood sales.

“A garage sale tends to be something that's very, has this kind of familial feel to it. … It’s not something I think of as a target,” said Dylan Hoffman, sitting in the garage of his home hosting a sale.

And that's what makes sales like his in the heart of Denver easy targets.

“I call them, like, worse than usual thieves,” Hoffman said.

This weekend at a yard sale in Aurora, three Coach purses were stolen in plain view of the homeowner. The homeowner told the FOX31 Denver Problem Solvers it appeared to be planned.

A large group came in, created distractions and several women put the purses on as if they were going to buy them. Instead, they easily slipped away.

In Washington Park, Hoffman has enlisted a group of friends to help keep an eye on the sale.

“We have five people here for a garage sale that's like 25 items,” he said.

What should have a neighborhood feel shouldn't be easy picking for thieves

“Be vigilant.  Be less than trusting I guess,” Hoffman said.

One more thing to be aware of is counterfeit money. Several people have reported getting fake $100 and $20 bills. After receiving small bills in return, the thieves walk away with the item and real money.