Robbery reminds us to be ever vigilant of push-in scam

Police Line / Police Tape" by Tony Webster is marked with CC BY 2.0 DEED.

It’s the summertime and with that usually comes a few things; BBQs, pool parties, the heat, outdoor activities, and also an influx of crime. Did I mention the heat? Why there’s an influx of criminal activity in the summer months has been explored, and it very-well-may-be the heat, or perhaps idle hands, that serves as a causal factor. While a New Jersey robbery that occurred in February is clearly not a summertime event, that’s not to moot the importance of staying ever vigilant and aware, especially during times of known increased criminal activity. 


The Bergen County prosecutor’s office recently announced charges being filed in connection to a February robbery. The June 9th, 2023 arrests of Jazmir Carter, Michael Carter, and Ameer Holcomb, will hopefully begin to close the books on the February 21, 2023 violent encounter.

On Tuesday, February 21, 2023, at approximately 9:30 a.m., the North Arlington Police Department received a 911 call reporting a home invasion that occurred at a North Arlington residence. The actors involved posed as Amazon delivery drivers and forced their way into the residence after the homeowner opened the door. The actors struck the homeowner with a handgun and stole cash, sneakers, and jewelry before fleeing the scene. The North Arlington Police Department notified the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Squad, and a joint investigation was initiated.

This type of robbery is consistent with several other scams involving so-called “push-ins.” When a push-in occurs, there’s usually some sort of a diversionary element to lower the guard down of the intended victim(s). Sometimes a younger female would be used to approach the front door of a home, and when the inhibitions of whoever answers the door are slightly lowered, accomplices force their way in – or push-in – to the home, then commence their robbery. Generally speaking these are violent encounters, as was the case of this homeowner getting pistol whipped.

A robbery like the one described is discussed in Anthony Colandro’s book, Crime Proof, which I reviewed  and was released just over two years ago.


Another tactic criminals may use is for a delivery person to knock on the door and say they have a delivery and get you to open the door. If it’s an unsolicited delivery, I say be very wary. In New Jersey, in 2008, a woman answered her front door for a flower delivery, and when she opened the door she was knocked to the ground and tied up. The white van backed into the driveway and two perpetrators ransacked the entire house. She was asked why she opened the door for a stranger. She stated it was her 35th wedding anniversary, and she figured the flowers were delivered from her husband. What had happened was, two weeks prior, they had paid painters to come in and paint the interior of the house, and she had a calendar on the side of the refrigerator. She had the day of the home invasion circled in red marker, and had written out “Our 35th Wedding Anniversary” as a reminder for her husband. Well, one of the bad guys took notice of that and passed it on to friends, and low and behold, she was set up on the day of their wedding anniversary. 

In Colandro’s book, he continues to explain different types of scams that occur and also offers up salient mitigation tactics. Some other content includes covering the “color code of awareness,” safety tips for the home, travel safety, and more. As we spring into summer, many pieces of advice he has to offer could come in handy. His advice would have been useful to the victim of the crime described here.

Luckily for the homeowner in this robbery, they were only robbed, and “struck.” What could have or should have the homeowner done can be picked apart, but not knowing all of the details, I can offer up there’s close to no reason to open the door for a package delivery person this day and age. Any person asking for a “signature confirmation” would be from services like the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, or UPS – readily identifiable and willing to show identification if asked. If in doubt, just tell whomever is knocking, to leave the package at the door – preferably through a video doorbell.


Keeping yourself aware of your surroundings and eliminating normalcy bias, is something that should be practiced daily. This is a good summertime topic, criminals don’t go on a vacation, and are a year round threat to the safety of us, our families, and detriment to our possessions. Being armed is not just about having the physical tools to defend ourselves, but also means having the correct mindset.

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