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Arlington Police Warn Online Cleaning Service Customers About Thefts

Crime Prevention - Thefts from Home (image via ACPD)There have been a string of home burglaries in Arlington and police believe the connection between them is the use of an online cleaning service.

Arlington County Police are now warning residents to be wary of any cleaner from an online service who refuses to give his or her last name and phone number. The department recommends the use of a home video security system for those who cannot be at home during the cleaning.

ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage declined to name the online cleaning service in question, citing “the integrity of ongoing cases.” She did, however, specify that the “cleaners are contractors signed up with an online cleaning service that does the scheduling on their behalf.”

The most prominent company to fit that definition is Handy. The New York City-based startup recently raised $50 million in venture funding, valuing the company around half a billion dollars. It has been criticized for its classification of cleaners as independent contractors.

So far, Handy has not responded to an inquiry from ARLnow.com. On its website, Handy says its cleaners are “experienced, friendly, background-checked, and insured.”

The police department issued an infographic (above) and the following statement about the online cleaning-related thefts.

The Arlington County Police Department has seen an increase in thefts from homes that have utilized online cleaning services. While a burglar has to break into an unsuspecting home, the same results can happen by giving unknown people access to your home. Below are a few things to consider before allowing any service provider into your home.

  • How long has the service been in business in your community?
  • Did you receive a favorable recommendation from friends or family?
  • Does the service have the appropriate permits to conduct business?
  • Is the service licensed properly with the County or the State?

When searching for an online cleaning service, it is suspicious of subcontractors to only provide partial names or to fail to provide telephone numbers. While there are many legitimate service providers, it is always recommended you remain present when the service is being provided and that you place all valuables in a secure area prior to their arrival.

If it is not possible for you to remain at home while the service is being provided and you can’t have a friend or family member assist you, you may want to reschedule for another time or consider monitoring the activity with a home video security system. These systems can be monitored via the web or your smartphone.

You work hard for things you have purchased. Help us to help you enjoy the fruits of your labor and avoid being a victim of theft.

A local online cleaning service, Maids in Black, said via a spokeswoman that it is “not a part of this investigation.”

“We pride ourself on hiring trustworthy employees who all must pass a background screening to ensure only the highest quality of service,” said Joanna Kalita. “These instances are quite unfortunate, however, in no way connected to Maids In Black.”

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