The Pennsylvania State Police, in a press release issued today, cautioned area residents "tis the season" to watch out for gypsies and transient criminals who have been known to prey on homeowners, particularly the elderly, through unethical business practices.

Calling the incidents a "known problem stretching across the U.S.," police said residents should be on the alert for persons trying to conduct business with them in a less-than-reliable fashion,

The release points out, "The arrival of Spring and the warm weather is a welcome time and is looked forward to by all of us. Unfortunately, it also brings with it some headaches, the least of which is pollen and seasonal allergies."

Police went on to say residents should be aware of a "criminal trend" which begins every year about this time, noting, "Springtime marks the arrival of the gypsies and the travelers, or transient criminals, and it is a growing plague. These roaming thieves make an easy living preying on the uninformed and unsuspecting residents, particularly but not always the elderly."

Police said they are aware these transient criminals have organized, tight-knit families that work together with a hierarchy that is known and respected within the family. The individual families, police said, loosely know about the other criminal groups and they sometimes work with each other.

Police said the transients typically take up residence in neighborhoods for a period of time, but generally do not commit their crimes within the area of temporary residency, preferring instead to travel a few hours to victimize people on their travel routes.

Police said the crimes are varied and many. They say transients often report to be driveway sealant contractors or asphalt sealant contractors. Some claim they are home roof repairmen or handymen/repairmen of other sorts. They are also known to be involved with insurance and credit card scams.

Police said the public should be on alert for these type of individuals in order to avoid being victimized by unethical practices.