Just got back from our local community council meeting, and we've
discovered a problem that I'm not quite sure how to deal with - thought
maybe some of you would have some good ideas (and of course some silly
ideas, and those are welcome as well).

For the past several months, we've had a guy coming around with his
mother to cut our grass; they seem to be homeless, and charge a
reasonable rate. We're the kind of people who like to give those less
fortunate a bit of help when we can, and since the guy we had doing our
lawn work moved, we've not had anyone else to take care of the lawn. It
is a fairly small lawn, but we're now three asthmatics, one of us has a
grass allergy as well, so it makes sense for us to have someone do the
work for us.

We've just found out that this guy has a fairly substantial police record
and is strongly suspected of being responsible for a number of burglaries
in the neighborhood. The MO seems to be - you guessed it - get to know
people by cutting their grass, case the target, and then break in when an
opportunity presents itself and steal stuff. I'm told the police reports
say they are both heroin addicts supporting a habit.

I'm sure our house looks like a gold mine to them. I don't know how much
they've seen, but they've been around when I'm working from home in the
dining room, so the laptops at least are fairly evident.

Obviously, we need them to stop coming around looking for an opportunity
to steal stuff.

The question is this: How best do we accomplish this? I imagine that if
we tell them we no longer have need of their services, that may tell them
it's time to make "one last visit" to get what they can before they move

My idea has been to answer the door one last time but let the alarm
system actually go off. That ruins the element of surprise for them
should they break in, but at the same time tells them it's not a "safe"
place to break into.

There is one report of them attempting to break into a house twice - the
second time, they didn't get anything, but the first time, they got lots
of electronic equipment (the second time was an attempt to get the stuff
the insurance money paid for). Since they were unsuccessful in the
second attempt, they vandalized the yard instead, causing a fair amount
of damage, so one of the neighbors reported.

A second idea I had was to confront them - let them know that we know
they're wanted for questioning in some local burglaries and make it clear
that if we see them again, we'll be calling the police. Much more direct
route, but also could lead to some sort of an escalation and I'd like to
avoid that *if possible*.

I'd love to hear some ideas....