Langley Mounties are asking real estate agents to be vigilant after a string of thefts from residences listed for sale.

There have been at least seven thefts from homes at open houses in the Langley area over the past month. Police say thieves pose as potential buyers, but use the open home as an opportunity to steal goods.

"The thieves will distract the realtor, perhaps asking for a tape measure, and while the realtor facilitates the request, property is pocketed," Const. Holly Marks said.

The perpetrators make off with laptops, designer purses, small electronics and other items.

"In several of the instances there were two Caucasian women, one of whom walked with a cane," Marks said.

Victims have reported seeing a dark-coloured Ford Mustang at several incidents.

Toronto-area realtor Jim Wintonyk told there's always a risk of theft when you allow people you don't know into open houses. He advises his clients to always put away anything of value before a showing.

"I insist on it, to protect the homeowner," he said, adding that no one has stolen from one of his open houses.

Wintonyk says items like jewelry, money and small electronics are the most likely to be targeted because they can easily be concealed and snuck out of the home.

"I go into homes and there are two or three hundred DVDs in there. The expensive video games that are so tiny – they could easily go into someone's pocket and then it's gone."

Police say realtors should make sure potential homebuyers are not left by themselves during showings. The RCMP also offered some tips for homeowners who are planning open houses:

  • Hide valuables and medications
  • Consider renting a safety deposit box
  • Put away personal documents, such as bills and bank statements
  • Remove photographs or anything that might identify you

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Langley RCMP or Crimestoppers.