(Excerpt from press release)
San Francisco Police are warning the public of a scam in which suspects falsely represent themselves as utility workers to gain entrance to homes. Once inside, the suspects distract the occupants and burglarize the residence.
One recent incident occurred on the 1400 block of Jackson Street on October 10, 2012 at 9:15 AM. The suspect claimed to be a water department employee and asked to check water faucets in the residence. The victim, an 82 year old male, admitted the suspect to his home and left him alone in a bathroom for several minutes. The victim later found the suspect emerging from a back bedroom. Upon encountering the victim, the suspect appeared nervous and spoke into a walkie-talkie radio. He then accompanied the victim to the garage. After conversing with the victim for several minutes, the suspect left the residence. The victim called the water department and was told that there were no issues with water service in his neighborhood. The victim later determined that US Currency and other property had been stolen. The suspect was described as a Latino/Hispanic male, 30-40 years old, 6′ 03″ 250 pounds, last seen wearing an orange safety vest and dark pants.
A second incident occurred later that morning on the 100 block of Southwood Drive at approximately 11:30AM. In this incident the suspect told the victim that a nearby water main had broken and he needed to test the water for possible contamination. The victim, a 52 year old female, let the suspect into her house. The suspect went into various rooms in the house including the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. He spoke into a walkie-talkie radio in an unidentified language before leaving the residence. The victim in this case did not report any theft. The victim described the suspect as a white male, in his 50′s, 5′ 07″ 170 pounds, last seen wearing a dark baseball cap, a brightly colored safety vest, a dark shirt, and dark pants.
The San Francisco Police Department recommends the following safety tips:
- Do not open your door to strangers, even if they claim to be utility workers.
- Always ask to see identification before admitting a worker into your house. All utilities issue identification cards to their employees.
- If you have any doubt about the legitimacy of a person claiming to be a utility worker, call the utility’s customer service department.
- San Francisco Water Department: 415-551-3000
- Pacific Gas and Electric: 1-800-PGE-5000
If you see suspicious activity or persons in your neighborhood, call the non emergency dispatch line at: (415) 553-0123. To report an emergency or crime in progress, call 911.