A 39-year-old woman was home alone when she heard a knock at the door; she looked out to see a nicely-dressed Asian man, wearing a Covid mask, who told her he was selling candy.
The unsuspecting woman agreed, opened the door, and handed him the money. But just as she's waiting on the box, the footage shows three armed men suddenly bursting around the corner and up her driveway; before she has time to react, they force their way inside.
The candy-seller appears startled, and seems to decide it's not his business and swiftly makes an exit.
But according to police, it was his business; as the footage shows, he stops halfway up the driveway and returns to the house — before pulling on a balaclava.
He then slips it off again, and makes his way back to what police say was a black SUV getaway car. His three associates ransacked the home, and all four fled the scene together with the stolen property.
Stockton PD Public Information Officer Joe Silva told TooFab it was a targeted heist, and that all four were in on the plot together; police do not yet know why that house in particular was chosen.
Officer Silva said he had seen similar robberies, although "not recently", in which thieves knock on doors dressed as officials — like Pacific Gas and Electric workers, for example — but had never seen a candy seller fronting a home invasion before.
The victim, he said was "traumatized by the experience" but not physically harmed.
"We don't recommend anyone opening the door to strangers," he said, advising homeowners to ask for identification first, and to call the number listed to ensure the seller is a licensed operator.
Stockton PD say the suspects are three Asian male adults, and one Black male adult.
They are offering a reward of up to $10k for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information is asked to call Stockton Crime Stoppers at 209-946-0600.