Crime alert could be a hoax

Example of a door frame marked with a number and a check mark (Fayetteville Police Department)

June 8, 2010 9:00:00 PM PDT
The Cumberland County Sheriff's Department says an alert about house branding is not true.Last week, authorities sent out details about a so-called house branding --in which criminals mark future targets for break-ins by drawing or etching a very small symbol, such as an X, an O, a checkmark, or a number above or near a door of targeted homes.

Police said suspects sometimes pretend to be door-to-door salesmen or pretend to be looking for someone who does not live at the home. They do this to identify easy targets.

Several days later, Fayetteville police said they had at least one confirmed case, but the sheriff's office believes it may not be a real branding.

Fayetteville police say some of the incidents may be hoaxes, but they still feel an obligation to warn people, just in case.

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