Police warn of fake utility worker visits
Updated 10:06 p.m.
SCHENECTADY Three separate incidents have been reported this week of individuals talking their way into homes posing as utility workers in apparent scam attempts, police said.
The latest was reported Thursday afternoon on Robinwood Avenue in Rotterdam, when a man talked his way into the home of a woman in her 80s by saying there was a gas leak nearby and he needed to check her utilities, police said.
The woman didn’t question the man and allowed him in. Once inside, he ran water in all of her sinks and then distracted her by asking her to run water in the washing machine in the basement. He then remained upstairs. When she returned, he left.
The resident later verified that there was no gas leak nearby and also realized that a small amount of money was missing from her bedroom.
The man was described as a Hispanic male, between 25 and 30 years old, clean shaven, wearing a black jacket and dark-colored baseball cap. On his jacket was a laminated name tag. He also claimed to be making a phone call to his boss, speaking Spanish during the call, police said.
Similar incidents were also reported this week in Colonie and Duanesburg. Rotterdam police are investigating whether they are related.
In the Colonie case, two people posing as water department employees talked their way into a Bought Road home Thursday morning. The residents, both in their 80s, let them inside.
Once inside, the men divided and distracted the residents with tasks that involved showing the water meter and removing a toilet seat.
Nothing is believed to have been taken.
The first suspect in that case is described as a white male in his 50s, about 6 feet tall and 240 pounds. He had dark hair and wore a dark jacket with an emblem.
The second suspect is described as a Hispanic male, about 5 feet, 3 inches tall, weighing 140 pounds and wearing a multicolored jacket.
The suspects’ vehicle was a dark SUV or van with windows on the side.
Residents are urged to verify the identity of any unsolicited visitors before allowing them in their house. If there is any suspicion about the person, residents should not allow them in. They should lock the door and call 911, police said.
Details of the Duanesburg case were not available.
Anyone with information about Thursday’s incidents is asked to contact Colonie police at 783-2744 or Rotterdam police at 355-7397.